Landscripts: Sydney 写生悉尼


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Institution: New South Wales Museum, Sydney, Australia
Materials: Vinyl

A work that had been in Xu Bing's mind for some time, "Landscript" was only realized when Xu found a location appropriate to the piece in the space and setting of the New South Wales Museum in Australia. On the large plate-glass windows of the museum lobby, Xu wrote out an image of the landscape visible through them by using Chinese characters to represent the individual landscape elements: for example, a clump of trees was represented by a clump of the Chinese character for tree. When the viewer stood on a marked point on the floor the calligraphy and the objects seen through the window overlapped, resulting in a conflation of text and objects. Furthermore, the relationship between the viewer, the window and the landscape underwent constant shifts according to the viewer's position in the gallery. By compelling the audience to engage with the landscape outside the gallery, this work effectively extended the museum space beyond the building's walls and into the distance. This work is linked to Xu's interest in the idea of limning nature, and to his exploration of the way humans use signs to represent the material world.