“The Phoenix”, a huge installation work by artist Xu Bing, is going to be assembled in the 14th-century dock of the Arsenale, Venice in May 2015. Each of this pair of monumental “phoenixes” is 30 meters long, and the total weight 8 tons. One of the super single-work in the history of Venice Biennale, it was fabricated from materials harvested in construction sites of Beijing, China, including industrial scraps, tools, and daily-use items of workers.
Xu Bing started his creation of this installation in 2008, the inspiration coming from his doubts about two pairs of concepts: capital / labor and production / consumption. The pair of colossuses comes back to life from the ruins abandoned in the process of wealth accumulation, resembling both the big birds of dinosaur age and the Transformers. It musters extraordinary energies, as if coming from some struggling instant in the face of a crisis. Not only is it a miniature of the big scene of China, it also in a way corresponds to the world situation in the current era.
After its debut in Beijing in 2010, “The Phoenix” took off with strong wings and mutual carings like a pair of intercontinental flying objects crossing time and space, and was in turn exhibited in MASS MoCA, USA(2012) and Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, New York, USA(2014). In 2015, “The Phoenix” was re-fabricated and to the original manner were added more prettiness, ferociousness, and sense of crisis. Now, at the invitation of Okwui Enwezor, the chief curator of Venice Biennale 2015, “The Phoenix” is alighting on the waters of Venice, and is going to deliver new implications in a different context.
The Phoenix (2008-2015)
Artist Xu Bing’s Huge Installation Work Coming to the Arsenale, Venice
56th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennale 2015
Chief Curator: Okwui Enwezor
Inauguration and Preview: May 6th-9th, 2015
For more information and pictures, please contact the office of “Phoenix Project”:
Tel: +86 18310903032
XU BING (b. 1955, Sichuan of China)
Xu Bing is one of the most celebrated international contemporary artists living today. He is well-known for his exploration of language systems and other ground-breaking art practices. The artist immigrated to New York in 1990 and returned to Beijing in 2007. Xu Bing’s work stands out from “standard contemporary art” by penetrating deep into the root of China’s culture while maintaining an awareness of historical context. His continuous observation of art, society, and politics has given his avant-garde practice significant theoretical value.
In 1999, Xu Bing was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship in recognition of his “capacity to contribute importantly to society, particularly in printmaking and calligraphy.” In 2003 Xu Bing was awarded the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize, and in 2004 he was awarded the first Artes Mundi International Visual Art Prize in Wales. Okwui Enzwor as the chair of judging panel considered Xu Bing“translates ideas and issues into visual forms that cross cultural boundaries. ” In 2015 Xu Bing received the U.S. Department of State Medal of Arts award.
His exhibitions have been held at the MoMA, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York; The V&A Museum and the British Museum in London amongst other major institutions. Additionally, Xu Bing has been shown at the 45thVenice Biennale amongst other international exhibitions. His representative works include The Book from the Sky (1987), Cultural Animal (1994), Squareword Calligraphy Classroom (1994), Where does the dust itself collect? (2004), The Book from the Ground (2006), Tao Hua Yuan: Travelling to the Wonderland (2013-2014), The Phoenix (2008-2015).
Courtesy of the artist and Xu Bing Studio, for further information please visit www.xubing.com.