German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier called on Prof. Xu Bing and praised his work as “singular.”

On the morning of December 10, 2018, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited artist Xu Bing’s studio in Beijing. This was the German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s first state visit to China since he was sworn in as President. On the same day, he also met and talked with Chairman Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang of the People’s Republic of China. Although he was busy with national affairs, he did not forget art which he loves ardently.


Xu Bing introduced to President Steinmeier Square Word Calligraphy in German: Haarnadel Phonix. This work derives from Xu Bing's 2009 sculpture in memory of the 20th anniversary of the fall of Berlin Wall. 


They visited and talked in Xu Bing’s studio for an hour, and Xu Bing showed President Steinmeier his representative works including Background Story, Square Word Calligraphy, American Silkworm Series, Phoenix Project and so on. 

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Xu Bing showing President Steinmeier the details behind Background Story.

Among them, the first piece of Background Story originated from Museum für Asiatische Kunst (Museum of East Asian Art), Berlin in 2004. Xu Bing refers to the history of the museum and its exhibits in this piece. He makes the spectator aware of the fact that there is a piece of museum history behind every work of art shown. 

President Steinmeier expressed great interest in Xu Bing’s rich artistic creations and details and he greatly praised his work as “singular.”


Members at Xu Bing Studio Beijing and President Steinmeier (from left to right): Liu Siyao, Fang Chao, Xu Yan, President Steinmeier, Xu Bing, Wu Yue, Zhang Zuo, Xia Wenbin, Wu Yanling.