Background Story: Summer Mountains
17 April 2019 / 18:30
As part of the exhibition “Out of Ink: Interpretations from Chinese Contemporary Art”, Pera Museum presents a talk by the artist Xu Bing, who participates in the exhibition with his installation Background Story: Summer Mountains.
Background Story begins with a canonic work of Chinese brush painting taken as the template for a contemporary reworking. In the case of Background Story: Summer Mountains, the original painting was created by Dong Yuan (circa 934-962). Using the illusion of the appearance of things, with Background Story Xu Bing refers to the art of Belgian artist René Magritte (1898-1967) as to ancient Chinese philosophers like Laozi or Zhuangzi. What we see is not a landscape. When one walks around to the back of the free-standing form of the lightbox, the meaning of the background story is revealed. Here, behind the scene, Xu Bing’s stage is hung with a chaotic web of materials, natural, manmade, all incidental, waste elements that are recycled and put to extraordinarily effect within the illusion. Background Story is a work of shadow play, a work of magic where Xu Bing is the magician who creates an illusion and shows you how the trick is done, whilst pointing to issues of environmental concerns and cultural aesthetics.
Xu Bing was born in Chongqing, China, in 1955. He graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing (CAFA) in 1981 and became a teacher. He moved to the United States in 1990, and back to China in 2007. He currently lives and works in Beijing and New York. Xu Bing’s work has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington, D.C.; the British Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Spain; Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; National Gallery of Prague, Czech Republic; and Museum Ludwig, Cologne. Xu Bing has participated in the 45th, 51st, and 56th Venice Biennales, the Biennale of Sydney, and the Johannesburg Biennale, among other international exhibitions.
In 1999, Xu Bing was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in recognition of his “capacity to contribute importantly to society, particularly in printmaking and calligraphy.” In 2003, he received the 14th Fukuoka Asian Culture Award for his “contribution to the development of Asian culture”. In 2004, he won the first Artes Mundi Prize in Wales. In 2006, the Southern Graphics Council conferred on Xu Bing its lifetime achievement award in recognition of the fact that his “use of text, language and books has impacted the dialogue of the print and art worlds in significant ways.” In 2015, he was awarded the 2014 Department of State – Medal of Arts for his efforts to promote cultural understanding through his artworks. His recent retrospective at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), Beijing, his first major showing in China, was one of the most attended exhibitions of 2018.
Free admissions, drop in. This event will take place in the exhibition gallery. The talk will be in English with consecutive Turkish translation.