Mar 28, 2010 - Apr 26, 2010


Today Art Museum

Today Art Museum

Exhibition photograph:  Xu Bing Aerial Project, Today Art Museum, Beijing, China.  Materials: construction debris, light emitting diodes.  Dimensions: 27 and 18 meters in length, 8 meters in width.

Under the dusky sky.  The two dinosaur-era-like, giant birds transform into a "phoenix gallery"  which brings the audience to feel a connection between the universe's space and the origin of the Earth in reality.

This is Xu Bing’s latest work which is inspired by the urban construction. He spent two years focusing on creating the work. The materials of the phoenix are all reclaimed urban construction waste, including building materials, construction equipment, work tools, construction worker's articles of daily use and other site materials. "Phoenix" not only presents the processes of urbanization, but also expresses respect for the city builders and concerns for environmental issues through its use of waste materials.  



The symbolic of phoenix is not only belonged to China, but also can be found in many ancient cultures around the world. The phoenix is tormented by fire and pain, then it is reborn reaching the sublimation with extreme splendor. The origins of the city are always associated with these ancient cultures. The “Phoenix” implicates the experience and sublimation of human urbanization. People from all over the world facing the work could see the energy of life.

“I wish to make it a romantic, beautiful; ferocious one with divinity; monstrous but quite practical. It was dressed up with very low price materials, possessing with dignity but scarred as well. That is the attraction of ‘Phoenix’.” —Xu Bing


“It is aggressive but beautiful at the same time. To make such a huge bird with these ragged materials seems that the phoenix is making the hypocrisy. The phoenix preens herself to make herself as if their intuition of beauty tells them to do it. Just as the poor who is short of top cosmetics,attempt to make themselves more attractive in a clueless way. This is also the origin of the gaudy folk art.”——Xu Bing


The reality of this work has a direct and metaphor dual relationship of the footprint of urban development. It witnesses the deep relationship of the rapid development of cities, the accumulation of labor, wisdom and wealth and the changing of lifestyles, showing the internal tension of citizen’s sentiments.

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