Guest Lecture: Dragonfly Eyes

“Dragonfly Eyes” (2017) film still. Xu Bing.

Speakers: Xu Bing (independent artist)

When: 7 pm, Monday, October 15, 2018

Venue: Harvard Film Archive

This talk is part of the 2018–2019 Kim and Judy Davis Dean’s Lecture in the Arts.  


The world-renowned artist Xu Bing will join in conversation with the Harvard faculty members Eugene Wang RI ’17, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Professor of Asian Art, and Jennifer L. Roberts, Johnson-Kulukundis Family Faculty Director of the Arts at the Radcliffe Institute and Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Professor of the Humanities. Xu’s work reflects on the simultaneous power and fragility of the visual and textual systems that hold societies together. Working at the forefront of Chinese contemporary art, he has focused with particular intricacy on the challenges of translation between East and West. The discussion will delve into the range of Xu’s art and its multifaceted impact on the global contemporary art world. The program at the Radcliffe Institute will be preceded by a screening of Xu’s recent film Dragonfly Eyes (2017), a work of fiction composed of surveillance camera footage sourced from streaming websites, at the Harvard Film Archive.

About the Speaker:

Born in Chongqing in 1955. Currently resides in New York. Trained at Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing.

Xu Bing 徐冰 has chosen to respond to the definitive painting manual of Chinese landscape, the Mustard Seed Garden. Landscape motifs meant for instructional purposes are cut from their pages and rearranged to form a new panorama of rocks, trees and water, each element with its instructional text intact. The composition is then carved onto woodblocks from which long scrolls of landscape are printed. Through this seemingly mechanical process, Xu examines the issue of copy-making in the Chinese tradition, a critical step in an artist’s training and practice.


Watch the full lecture video here.

Read more about the film screening here.

See the original event page here.