Design studio of Dorothea Lee


Blog of Dorothea Lee's graphic design studio, fartherMORE, containing visual experiments, wonders, and the occasional throwback.

Xu Bing's Phoenix

Given the holidays this weekend, I thought it was only fitting to post my pilgrimage to check out Xu Bing's enormous Phoenix art installation—two six-ton, 100-foot sculptures suspended in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. According to the write-up of the art piece,

On a site visit [to China’s World Financial Center, Xu Bing] was shocked by the primitive working conditions of the migrant laborers and inspired. The commission site...reminded him of a cage and he proposed...a pair of phoenixes—Feng, a male, and Huang, a female, each to be fashioned out of the salvage and architectural debris.... Xu Bing’s phoenix was to be complex and contemporary, a representation of 21st-century China in all its contradictions and raw energy.

Wherever it is found, the phoenix is beneficent and life-giving; in many cultures it symbolizes rebirth and resurrection. In Chinese mythology the phoenix...does not die and rise again, but is immortal...Its rare appearance is variously claimed to be a favorable omen or a warning of trouble.

There are already some great photographs readily available of this installation, so I chose a few details to highlight here, as well as other great moments I enjoyed from the site itself.

Did you get a chance to see the installation for yourself? What do you think?