U bent hier

In February 2016 la Triennale di Milano will introduce for the first time in Italy the genius of one of the most respected masters of Chinese contemporary artist XU BING in a dialogue with other artists. From its very beginnings as a teenager, the work of XU BING comes as an in-depth investigation into the mystery of human written language. He is considered to be the most influential teacher in China today where his reputation surpasses considerably the one of Ai Wei Wei with whom he moved to the US in the early 1990 before moving back to Beijing. Work of XU BING has been shown in the most prestigious museums in Europe, Asia and the US. 


Two elements independently inspired the basic idea on which the exhibition is build. In 2013 the Venice Biennial welcomed for the first time more than 100 Chinese artists shown in no less than 8 pavilions. Fact is that they never won fewer attention than in that year. It seemed as if Chinese artists would not be ready yet to compete on the highest level, an idea that is totally wrong. Work of Xu Bing could be found on several venues, however, the artist himself did not come to the Biennal.


In the same year Hans de Wolf, curator of the present exposition in Milan, witnessed in Beijing the première of “The Character of Characters”, Xu Bing’s most ambitious projects in recent years, a video animation of 17 minutes that is projected on the wall by means of 5 beamers. The 12m long scroll-like film illustrates how out of the observation of nature the first characters in the Chinese written language were born. 


De Wolf now brings that same project to Milan. The Character of Characters will be confronted with the 426 syllables of the African artist Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, the so called “Alphabet Bété” the first and only alphabet ever developed in Africa and the only piece that can compete with Xu Bing in size and importance. The room will be completed with work of Marcel Broodthaers, Alighiero Boetti, Piero Manzoni, Le Corbusier, Guy Rombouts and the Indian genius Jyvia Soma Mashe.


XU BING Worlds of Words/Goods of Gods

  • Curated by: Hans de Wolf
  • Assisted by: Sanne Sinnige, Isabelle Vander Stockt, Penny Xu 
  • With: Xu Bing
  • And: Alighiero Boetti, Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, Marcel Broodthaers, Le Corbusier, Christian Dotremont, Piero Manzoni, Jyvia Soma Mashe and Guy Rombouts
  • Produced by: Brussels Capital Region, Flanders State of the Arts and Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles
  • Hosted by: Triennale di Milano
  • In collaboration with: Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels Capital Region, Visitbrussels, Flanders State of the Arts, Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, Foreign Affairs Ministry of Belgium, CAFA Art Museum Beijing, Mobull, Academia Brera di Milano
  • Opening: 12th of February, 2016, 7pm