Schrift als fingierte Signifikation. Xu Bings Buch des Himmels und seine unleserlichen Schriftzeichen

Translated title of the contribution: Script as fabricated signification. Xu Bing's A Book from the Sky and his illegible characters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Xu Bing's imaginary characters haven't stopped irritating their spectators since the first exhibition of his work "A book from the sky" (1988) in Beijing. For this monumental project, he created around 4000 characters, which, in a certain way, question the status and the tradition of Chinese characters. The characters Xu Bing invented are extraordinary because they don't have any meaning: they are empty and without any reference, only pure aesthetical form. At first sight, they look very similar to genuine Chinese characters, but the fact is that they mislead the reader and drive him into a non-signifying void. With Foucault's ontology of language and Derrida's grammatological critique of Western phonocentrism which implies the idea of an "archi-trace", I will suggest two approaches in order to conceptualize Xu Bing's simulacra of Chinese characters.

Original languageGerman
Pages (from-to)75-86
Number of pages12
JournalKodikas/ Code
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jan 1


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language

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