Brilliant Mountain Flowers Magazine
Medium: Mimeograph on paper
Dimension: 27 x 19.5 cm (closed); 27 x 39 cm
After graduating from the Affiliated High School of Peking University, Xu Bing was sent to Huapen Commune in Yanqing, a village outside of Beijing nestled within the Taihang Mountains from 1974 to 1977. This was part of the Cultural Revolution policy that dispatched young intellectuals to the countryside to live and learn there. During this period, he and his fellow youths would spend their free time participating in mass arts and literature activities. One such pursuit was Brilliant Mountain Flowers Magazine. This mimeographed publication was published in an edition of 500, aimed at the rural community. The first issue was shown in the “Criticize Lin, Criticize Confucius National Exhibition,” a political campaign targeting the ancient philosopher alongside disgraced high-level official Lin Biao. The publication’s layout, font, and illustrations were all designed by Xu Bing, aiming to show the purity and persistence of a life of hardship. Historians believe that Brilliant Mountain Flowers Magazine can be seen as Xu Bing’s first artwork inspired by the concept of books.