Xu Bing

Yi Tiao Da-he (A Great River)

Xu Bing

Yi Tiao Da-he (A Great River)



Edition Size



Wood block


22 × 28 in


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Cornell University, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art

Part of Xu Bing’s 1987 woodcuts titled five series of repetitions, recording the stages of carving the block of wood prior to printing, a process that is usually obliterated. For these works, he made an impression of each state – beginning with a solid black print from an uncarved block and ending with a blank white ‘print’ representing the block after the raised surface had been completely carved away. The prints were mounted successively in a strip, progressing from nothing to something and back to nothing, they hint at the cycle of life.