May 13 – July 18, 2004

Here Is What I Mean

Works by Gu Xiong & Xu Bing
Curated by Patrick Mahon & Robin Metcalfe

Circulated by Museum London

Gu Xiong and Xu Bing are compatriots from the People's Republic of China who shared experiences through the Cultural Revolution and the development of the Chinese Avant-Garde movement in the 1980s. Each subsequently emigrated to North America: Gu Xiong to Canada (where he now lives in Vancouver) and Xu Bing to New York.

The exhibition includes part of Xu Bing's acclaimed Book from the Sky - in which the artist has created hundreds of artificial Chinese characters and printed them in books and on scrolls - as well as calligraphy scrolls, a classroom installation and an interactive computer font project. Gu Xiong contributes an installation of sixteen square drawings on canvas, which report on everyday objects and events encountered in his immigrant experience, and several large-scale paintings where text-like images describe the artist's view of the detritus of Western consumer culture.

About the Artists

Gu Xiong was born in Chongqing, China in 1953. After being relocated to the countryside during the Culture Revolution, Gu Xiong enrolled in the Sichuan fine Arts Institute in Chongqing, Sichuan, where he received a BFA in 1982 and an MFA in 1985. He was a participant in the Art Studio Program of the Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta, Canada, in 1986-87, and also in 1989. Gu Xiong emigrated to Canada in 1989. He lives in Vancouver B.C. where he is Assistant Professor in the Department of Fine Arts at UBC.

Gu Xiong’s work has been included in exhibitions at the Vancouver Art Gallery; the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria; Kamloops Art Gallery; and the Chinese Cultural Centre Museum, Vancouver, B.C. Gu Xiong’s work has also been in the Montreal Biennial; Kwangju International Biennial; the Contemporary East Asian Letter Arts Exhibition, Souel, Korea; and in the Panama City Biennial. It is represented in the collections of the National Fine Arts Gallery of China, Beijing; and the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Xu Bing was born in Chongqing, China in 1955. In 1975 he was relocated to the countryside for three years during the Cultural Revolution. Following that, he enrolled in the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing where he studied printmaking. He received an MFA from Central Academy in 1987. In 1990, Xu Bing emigrated to the United States; he lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Xu Bing’s work has been exhibited at the 45th Venice Biennial in Italy; the Museum of Modern Art in New York; Museum Ludwig in Koln, Germany; the Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Sydney Biennial, Australia; the National Gallery of Canada; San Francisco Museum of Contemporary Art; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; P.S.1, New York; and at the Mory Art Museum in Tokyo. Xu Bing has had solo exhibitions at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York; ICA, London; the National Gallery of Prague; the National Gallery of Beijing and at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. In 1999 he received the MacArthur Award for Genius by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Xu Bing received the Asian Cultural Award in Fokouda, Japan, in 2003.