Tuesday, 17 March 2009

book from the sky

Xu Bing, Book From the Sky To Bernard Quaritch's, the booksellers, this evening, for the launch of a book they have published about the artist Xu Bing, specifically his Book From the Sky), a 4-volume work written in 4,000 imaginary Chinese characters, printed using moveable type. There is acute (not to say obsessive) attention to the formal codes of book, whereas its content is, in a sense (sic) nonsense. One of the main authors of this new critical work, Tianshu: Passages in the Making of a Book, is John Cayley, who has considered Xu Bing's work often: here's a useful piece http://www.hanshan.com/specials/xubingts.html . There is an exhibition in the basement of Quaritch's, showing copies of the Book from the Sky, with earlier versions, printing blocks and sorts, and installation photographs of full-scale gallery installations, which seem very grand and theatrical. Some of these images are on Xu Bing's own website. The critical book has a notable materiality of its own, being bound in a flexible transparent cover through which its structure can be seen.

1 comment:

Anne said...

What a beautiful thing. One can imagine Borges, perhaps, writing about such a pure idea - but to execute it is art of a higher order. There can be nothing like it in English (though the captchas are becoming more wordlike: dectom, inspil, combit).