Xu Bing Studio Blog

Dojima River Biennale 2009, Dojima River Forum, Osaka (Aug. 8-Sept. 6, 2009)

Posted in Past Exhibitions, Square Word Calligraphy by xubing on July 30, 2009
A digital mock-up of Xu Bing's 26 x 26 foot "Magic Carpet" (2006), which will go on display next week in Osaka

A digital mock-up of Xu Bing's 26 x 26 foot "Magic Carpet" (2006), which will go on display next week in Osaka, Japan.

Led by Artistic Director Fumio Nanjo (Director of the Mori Art Museum) and curated by Kenji Kubota, the 1st Dojima River Biennale will open in Osaka, Japan on August 8th. 26 works from Singapore Biennale 2006 will be exhibited for about one month. Xu Bing will show one piece from his Magic Carpet series (2006).

The carpet, a massive 26 x 26 foot hand-woven wool prayer carpet filled with religious texts transcribed as Square Word Calligraphy. This prayer carpet, originally intended for the use of Buddhist devotees at the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple in downtown Singapore is based, in part, on the  concept of the Xuan Jitu, an embroidered brocade word puzzle created during the Former Qin period(351-394 AD) by Su Hui. The orignal Xuan Jitu—a square composed of 841 Chinese characters—reveals over 200 distinct poems when read in different directions. In Magic Carpet, Xu Bing creates a modern “Xuan Jitu” out of four religious texts (Jewish, Gnostic Christian, Buddhist and Marxist). A second carpet, inscribed with the English word “belief” in Square Word Calligraphy, was later donated by the artist to the Kwan Im Temple.

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