Framing Xu Bing’s The Suzhou Landscripts
I first met the artist Xu Bing last year in the company of Judith Goldman and Shelagh Vainker. Judith’s Deuce II Editions published his four panel lithographic work, and Shelagh is Curator at Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum, where the work was to be exhibited. Our meeting was at United Limited Art Edition’s studio on Long Island where the work was being printed; the project had been started there almost ten years before. Over the next several months we made samples of prospective mouldings and sent them back and forth, as well as meeting further with Judith and Xu Bing at his studio in Brooklyn.
Key to framing this monumental work in four parts is to provide a strong border at the outer perimeter while keeping the framing elements between the panels as slender as possible—the framing must not isolate and over-emphasize the parts at the expense of the whole. We accomplished this by designing a Tee profile whose “wing” is clipped on the inner borders, so the frame elements between the parts become simple L -profiles. The following pictures illustrate the profile.
Xu Bing was interested in both a patinated aluminum and lightly toned maple version of the Tee profile. For the Ashmolean framing, the aluminum model was chosen.
“Landscape/Landscript is a cerebral submersion in nature, as well as a vivid set of reflections on the power and treachery of words. Xu’s Landscripts teach us another way of seeing the world, where language flows over the landscape, becoming a feature of the natural world itself.” Financial Times
The exhibition Landscape/Landscript at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford is the Museum's first major exhibition of contemporary art and is the first exhibition devoted to Xu Bing’s landscapes. ashmolean.org