The sculptural installation “Phoenix” consists of a pair of massive phoenix sculptures made of materials scavenged from urban construction sites in China. Designed by Chinese artist Xu Bing, each bird weighs 12 tons and ranges from 90 to 100 feet in length. Bing talks about the origins of the project and the two year cosntruction process in the short documentary “Xu Bing: Phoenix” by Daniel Traub. The birds are on display at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts through October 27, 2013.
Drawing inspiration from the contemporary realities of his fast-changing country, Chinese artist Xu Bing spent two years creating his newest work, Phoenix. The installation features two monumental birds fabricated entirely from materials harvested from construction sites in urban China, including demolition debris, steel beams, tools, and remnants of the daily lives of migrant laborers. At once fierce and strangely beautiful, the mythic Phoenixes bear witness to the complex interconnection between labor, history, commercial development, and the rapid accumulation of wealth in today’s China.
photos by Hideo Sakata/MASS MoCA