2013.10.12 Sat, by Translated by: 梁舒涵
“Traveling to the Wonderland” by Xu Bing to open at the V&A in November

After a long process, it has finally been confirmed that Xu Bing will this November install “Traveling to the Wonderland” in the John Madejski Garden at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London. The installation has been commissioned to coincide with the museum’s forthcoming exhibition “Masterpieces of Chinese Painting 700 – 1900”, and will open to the public on 2nd November.

Xu’s “Arcadia” is inspired by the classic Chinese fable Tao Hua Yuan (“The Peach Blossom Spring”), written by the scholar Tao Qian in 421AD, about people who lead an ideal existence in harmony with nature and each other, cut off from the outside world. The installation will consist of a ring of thinly cut stones collected from five different regions in China arranged around the pond in the garden to represent mountains. Among them will be placed ceramic animals and clusters of houses, each made by hand and designed to reflect different styles of housing in the different Chinese provinces.

Xue Bing with his installation

Xu Bing says of the installation: “Tao Hua Yuan is a long lost dream and we don’t know if its existence is real or pure fiction…My goal is to treat every process and element as precisely and meticulously as a traditional Chinese artist works with every brushstroke. ‘Traveling to the Wonderland’ is one of my most challenging pieces.”

“Maquette for Traveling to the Wonderland“ in Xu Bing’s studio, photo by Iona Whittaker
《桃花源的理想一定要实现》初步模型, Iona Whittaker拍摄于徐冰工作室

“Traveling to the Wonderland” will be accompanied by a display of works on paper by Xu Bing in the T.T. Tsui Gallery. This will include one of his large-scale New English Calligraphy pieces, based on Tao Qian’s historical writing on Tao Hua Yuan. Also on show will be paintings representing Xu Bing’s vision of Tao Hua Yuan and sketches detailing the process of creating the garden installation.