paper collage on paper
28.5 x 83 cm
Book From the Ground Collage (2008) and the more recent Book From the Ground Pop-up Book (Day & Night) (2015-17) use an invented Esperanto of globalisation to tell stories of modern life. In Book From the Ground Collage the protagonist, an urban Everyman, daydreams about love. At six o’clock he leaves his office and dashes to the station. To this point the collage of found symbols is a simple linear trajectory, but once he arrives at the station it becomes a chaotic tangle of signs: people drag luggage, push babies in prams, have fights, fall over, cry and embrace. There are police officers, and a bag snatcher. Emerging from this maelstrom, the man catches his train, arrives home, takes his front door key out of a flowerpot, and enters his house. Xu Bing used this language of signs to ‘write’ a longer novel that narrated a day in the life of an ordinary man, a book he says anyone can read, regardless of their native language or level of education.