Magazine
Latest Issue

Private view

Contemporary Chinese art is often cleverly calibrated for a western market, and it can fetch millions. But is this calculation part of its mastery?

By Ben Lewis   June 2008

Anyone for conceptual calligraphy? Chinese artist Xu Bing’s first major British exhibition at the Albion gallery in London displays large sheets of what looks like Chinese calligraphy. Yet each calligraphic sign, almost always painted in a light black hue, is artfully composed of the letters of one English word. One would have to spend an exhausting month in the gallery to decipher this strange language, which Bing calls “square word calligraphy.” Pressed for time, I availed myself of some information in the gallery offices. One work is titled, in calligraphy of course, Quotation from Chairman Mao—and there follows a particularly…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to letters@prospect-magazine.co.uk

More From Prospect