Art And Culture

Xu Bing’s Book That Anyone Can Read

Xu Bing’s Book That Anyone Can ReadXu Bing’s Book That Anyone Can Read

Shoma publications released on Sunday a book that “anyone can read”.

‘Book from the Ground’ by Chinese artist Xu Bing is actually a detailed account of 24 hours in the life of Mr. Black, a typical white-collar worker.

The Persian title of the book is ‘In Ketab Khandani Nist’ (literally, ‘This Book Is Not Readable’), IBNA reported.

Readable or not, it is now in bookstores, a unique one among its shelf-mates.

Xu Bing is an internationally acclaimed artist whose work has been shown and collected by museums and galleries around the world.

He turns language into pictures and pictures into language. Familiar pictorial forms that gradually reveal unexpected semantic content appear in his project, ‘Book from the Ground: From Point to Point.’

Xu Bing collected pre-existing logos that constitute a banal lingua franca of international travel and advertising, displayed in airports and other public spaces. In his hands, these familiar signs have turned into units of a new script, legible to speakers of any language, MIT Press said in a review of the book.

  Daily Routine

The story starts when Mr. Black wakes up by calls from a nearby bird and his bedside alarm clock; it continues through tooth-brushing, coffee-making, TV-watching, and cat-feeding. He commutes to his job on the subway, works in his office, ponders various fast-food options for lunch, socializes after work, goes home, kills a mosquito, goes to bed, sleeps, and gets up the next morning to do it all over again.

Xu Bing’s narrative, using an exclusively visual language, could be published anywhere, without translation or explication; anyone with experience in contemporary life - anyone who has internalized the icons and logos of modernity, from smiley faces to transit maps to menus - can understand it.

Xu Bing is currently serving as vice president of the Central Academy of Art, Beijing. Based in Beijing, he maintains a studio in Brooklyn.

“Twenty years ago I wrote ‘Book From the Sky’, a book of illegible Chinese characters that no one could read. Now I have created Book from the Ground, a book that anyone can read,” he said.