Xu Bing - Contemporary Art Part II New York Friday, November 17, 2006 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Private collection, Europe

  • Catalogue Essay

    The present lot is a more advanced example of Square Word Calligraphy featuring the word "Irresistible." Xu's invented script aims to challenge our ingrained ways of comprehending both Chinese and English, demystifying complex Chinese characters to non-readers of Chinese so that meaning is magically created in translation. In interpreting this piece, the reader's attention is drawn to the ideogrammatic qualities of written Chinese as well as heuristic shortcuts used by English readers. Although Square Word Calligraphy pieces invoke the appearance of traditional Chinese letters with their Chinese ink and paper components, their content is distinctly contemporary. “Promoting Square Word Calligraphy is like the large-scale mass literacy campaigns in China shortly after liberation. The further my work moves away from concepts, the closer it gets to the real point of art.” (Xu Bing; K. Smith, Nine Lives, 2005, p. 351)


Square Word Calligraphy (Irresistible)

Ink on paper.
20 1/2 x 14 1/2 in. (52.1 x 36.8 cm).
Signed "Xu Bing" in the artist's unique New English Calligraphy script and marked with the artist's Chinese seal in red ink, lower right. This work is unique.

$10,000 - 15,000 

Sold for $10,800

Contemporary Art Part II

17 Nov 2006, 10am & 2pm
New York