On November 11, 2017, “The Wild Goose Flies over the Quiet Pond but Does not Leave a Shadow on the Pond: Xu Bing and His Students” opened in Eslite Spectrum Suzhou. It is organized by Eslite Spectrum Suzhou, jointly curated by Duan Shaofeng & Yang Mengjiao, and it is divided into two parts. The first part of the exhibition features the works and documents related to the books and education under the creation of Xu Bing, while the second part is the exhibition of “Unspoken Understanding”, presenting the works by Xu Bing’s master’s & doctoral students.
Xu Bing is one of the most important contemporary artists in China. With more than 40 years of an artistic career that demonstrates a continuous creativity and he has held solo exhibitions at many important art institutions including the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, the United States, the New Museum, and the Bronx Museum of the Arts. He has also been invited to attend important group exhibitions in the UK, France, Canada, Japan and other countries. In 1999, he was the first Chinese artist to receive the MacArthur Award, the top cross-field award in the United States, for his achievements in calligraphy and printmaking.
Eslite Spectrum Suzhou invited the famous printmaker, artist Xu Bing and his 15 students to jointly display 26 representative works of their respective artistic careers. Among them, it displays Xu Bing’s works related to the “book” in his creative career, spanning more than 40 years. Xu Bing’s art creation of characters has its own life, constantly growing along with the propelling of the times. From “A Book from the Sky”, which is impossible to be understood by any man, regardless of the education level, to the “Book from the Ground” that is understood by all people, regardless of poverty or wealth, from beginning to end, as Xu Bing said: All People are equal before art.
26 groups of works cover a variety of expressive techniques, covering painting, installation and video, with new ideas. Curators Duan Shaofeng and Yang Mengjiao believed that the teacher-student group exhibition was more like a classroom, where Xu Bing and his students had a discussion about the form of work, to interpret the true connotation of “unspoken understanding” between teachers and students.
At the opening ceremony of the exhibition, Xu Bing and the famous art historian Yin Ji’nan attended the activity of Eslite Forum, and had a dialogue themed on “Unspoken Understanding”, to talk about the experience of art education. Xu Bing’s personal experience can be described as running through the East and West, and he has profound experiences in the advantages and disadvantages of art education in the East and West. Xu Bing said that students could be trained in technologies & methods, but their own unique thinking & concept of art was at the core of art and couldn’t be taught. Under the teaching concept of the continuation of creative thinking, Xu Bing gives students enlightenment on the experiences of life & society, the cognition & judgment, the creation & continuation of artistic language, the cultivation of working methods and the self-identity of artists’ statues.
The Zen language of “The Wild Goose Flies over the Quiet Pond but Does not Leave a Shadow on the Pond” manifests in the art attitude and even the attitude toward life as insisted by Xu Bing. He advocates that people should not be disturbed by the regrets of the past and the illusion of the future, while the first thing people should do is to cherish the moment. Xu Bing’s art teaching, his creative practice and attitude towards life have a profound impact on his students.
Xu Bing brought students to the School of Arts, Soochow University on 10 November for a lively lecture for all the students and explained the “creativity” from the perspectives of teachers and students.
Starting from the exhibition, Eslite Spectrum Suzhou also planned 3 live dialogues with young artists and invited representatives of Xu Bing’s students to talk about “how to continue the creativity of the ‘Genius Xu Bing’ ”, from different perspectives of “Body Poetics”, “Why the New Media” and “Tradition Enters the Contemporary”, and how to bloom a different brilliance once again.
Xu Bing has been engaged in the education in the field of art for more than 30 years and his students include the people born in the 1960s, the 1970s and the 1980s, while they have all inherited Xu Bing’s artistic concept in different aspects, to varying degrees. However, as a new generation of young artists, they have formed an individual creative system and made remarkable achievements in their respective fields, after experiencing a systematic artistic education and long-term shaping of language.
It continues to January 7, 2018.
Photo and text by the organizer, translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO
About the Exhibition
Title: “The Wild Goose Flies over the Quiet Pond but Does not Leave a Shadow on the Pond”
Venue: 3F, Eslite Spectrum Suzhou
Duration: November 11, 2017 – January 7, 2018
Curators: Duan Shaofeng, Yang Mengjiao
Xu Bing, Fu Xiaojie, Geng Xue, Gao Zhenpeng, Liu Boda, Niu Han, Luo Jing, Lee Deulnib, Miri Park, Xie Dingquan, Xu Xiaoding, Yang Hongwei, Zhang Ke, Zhang Wenchao, Zhang Xiaotao, Zhang Yifan
Organizer: Eslite Spectrum Suzhou
Sponsor: Mushiyingyan Culture & Art Co., Ltd.