Xu portrait 1

Xu Bing
Spotlight Artist in Residence
Fall 2022


Xu Bing is a visual artist internationally recognized for his experiments with written script. Xu garnered international attention in the late 1980s for his experiments with the Chinese written script created using woodblock carving and printing to produce a series of nonsensical characters. Since then, Xu has explored the ways in which the written script bridges different systems of writing and engages audiences across different cultures. His work incorporates a wide variety of media including ink rubbings, stencils, scrolls, computer manipulations, organic materials and living animals.

Xu has received the MacArthur Fellowship, Fukuoka Asian Culture Award, Artes Mundi Prize, a lifetime achievement award from the Southern Graphics Council and the U.S. State Department Medal of Arts. His work has been included in the 45th, 51st and 56th Venice Biennials,  Sydney Biennial, and Johannesburg Biennial, amongst other international exhibitions.

Xu was born in Chongqing, China in 1955. He received his BFA and MFA from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. He moved to the United States in 1990 and moved back to China in 2007. From 2008 to 2014, Xu served as the Vice President of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, where he is now a professor and the director of the Academic Committee. He lives and works in Beijing and New York.


Xu Bing was in residence at UC Davis from October 31 to November 4, 2022. During that time, a special screening of Xu Bing's experimental film, Dragonfly Eyes, was held on November 1 in Wright Hall. Xu gave a public lecture at Wyatt Pavilion Threatre on November 3 and led a seminar for 14 undergraduate and graduate students in Art Studio. Xu Bing's seminar explored practices and the redefinition of "found" materials in the digital age, through repetition, narrative and collage. Students were asked to collect already-available footage and images from their life and craft their own 3-5 minute video as response and intervention. The seminar was created in conversation with a special screening of Xu Bing's experimental film, Dragonfly Eyes, held on Nov. 1, 2022, posing the questions: how we reflect on the situatedness of our everyday life in the new global, digital world? How to make sense of reality in a time with the abundance of images and footage? Who is watching?



Banner image: ©Xu Bing Studio