(Chinese, b. 1955)
Woodcut print with ink on paper
Image: 52.8 x 73.2 cm (20 13/16 x 28 13/16 in.); Sheet: 66.7 x 85.2 cm (26 1/4 x 33 9/16 in.)
Gift of Joe and Nancy Keithley 2019.240
Xu was born during a rare ice storm, so he was named Bing 冰, meaning "ice."
Series of Repetitions, a suite of ten woodcuts, was part of Xu Bing’s master’s thesis project in 1987. He printed images in different stages, each time carving away a little more of the block’s surface. The first print is the darkest; the final one is the lightest, with the image being entirely effaced. Family Plots refers to the landownership arrangement under Mao Zedong that allowed families who worked on state-owned communes to have individual plots of land. The characters in the corners of each plot designate old family names, such as Zhao, Qian, Sun, and Li. These references to script and text laid the groundwork for the artist’s later “landscripts”—landscapes composed of Chinese characters or script-style components.
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