Thursday, March 6, 2008

Xu Bing

"The Installation "ABC" is comprised of a series of ceramic cubes reminiscent of oversized children's alphabet blocks, but marked with the artist's own "transliterations" into Chinese of the twenty-six letters of the Roman alphabet. The Chinese character(s) are carved on the upper face of each block in the form of a printer's stamp and the Roman letter represented by the characters is carved on the side. When pronounced, the characters render sounds approximating those of the English letters. For example, the letter "A" is represented by the Chinese character "ai", which means sadness, while "W" is represented
by the three characters "da", "bu", "liu" which mean big, cloth, and six, respectively. While this undertaking appears at first to be a perfectly rational exercise in linguistic communication, what ultimately comes across is an underlying sense of awkwardness and absurdity." Thanks Sarah for the email.

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