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Calligraphic Expression And Contemporary Chinese Art: Xu Bing’s Pioneer Experiment

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Chapter Summary

Calligraphy, widely celebrated as the soul of Chinese art, has historically expanded the cultural space in China, with Chinese, as Arabic does in Central Asia, becoming a most significant representative of the calligraphic language. In this chapter, the changes in the artistic creation of a contemporary Chinese artist, Xu Bing, are applied to explain how Chinese characters-based calligraphy is translated into a calligraphic expression in modern art. The chapter also evaluates the advantages or their opposite within the framework of Chinese aesthetics. Chinese calligraphy has its counterpart in the sphere of applied art, meishuzi, whose English translation as 'artistic calligraphy' has unwittingly added to its quasi character as a style that has a higher aesthetic value than calligraphy. Square Word Calligraphy by Xu Bing is the best example that illustrates the intermediate position of calligraphy between tuxing (of forms) and tushi (of ideas).

Keywords: Chinese aesthetics; Chinese calligraphy; Contemporary Chinese Art; meishuzi; Square Word Calligraphy; tushi; tuxing; Xu Bing

10.1163/ej.9789004187955.i-446.33
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