xu bing (china) – fang lijun (china) – yoshihiro suda (japan)
"East wind" is the title of the exhibition in which the museum franz gertsch presents three crucial positions in Far-Eastern contemporary art. For the first time, two of the most important contemporary Chinese artists, Xu Bing and Fang Lijun, will be exhibiting some major works in Switzerland. Works by the young Japanese artist Yoshihiro Suda round out the exhibit. The three together represent an exciting art scene from a part of the world that has been recently intensifying its fruitful dialogue with the Western world through political and economic developments. There is also a more personal dialogue: Franz Gertsch’s work itself has been inspired by a somewhat Eastern breeze – with his meditative approach to the creative process, the philosophical background, the way to perceive nature within a certain pattern of artistic traditions, that is, the particularly intense relation of the artist to time and the material he works with.
Xu Bing (* 1955) is presenting, among other things, his masterpiece "A Book from the Sky“ (1987-91). It is a huge installation piece comprised of many open books scattered on the ground and broad strips of paper hanging from the ceiling, which are completely covered with characters and produced in a traditional woodcut technique. Upon closer examination the characters prove to be "fake“, entirely made-up aesthetic signs not to be read like an alphabet, but purely as an artistic picture. Thanks to this mixture, the installation turns into a meeting-place of old Chinese cultural traditions and Western installation art, while playing on the complex relation of sign and image.
Fang Lijun (* 1963) also works in woodcut. His immense works on paper – more than 400 x 700 cm – deal with the human struggle for survival, the relation and tension between the individual and the mass, self-assertion and social or political commitment.
Yoshiro Suda‘s (* 1969) minutely carved flower sculptures seem to grow out of nothing, white space, or the ground. In their pure and minimalist style, they complement the monumental works of the Chinese artists displayed in the exhibition. In Suda’s work, ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement fuses with the aesthetics of the white cube. Nature and conceptualism come together in crystal clarity.
The exhibition catalogue includes texts by Marcel Schumacher and Reinhard Spieler.