Xu Bing’s Phoenix at St. John the Divine
For the duration of 2014, the artist Xu Bing’s Phoenix—a pair of majestic, glittering sculptures made of refuse and debris—can be viewed at The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York City. “My Phoenix uses the lowliest materials of labor to adorn itself with beauty and self-respect,” Xu says.
Before coming to St. John the Divine, the work has been displayed in venues such as the Today Art Museum in Beijing and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (@massmoca). Soaring amongst the carved wood and stained glass of the cathedral, the sculptures take on a sacred quality. “It creates a unique visual and spiritual landscape for the public,” Xu says, “a landscape that I believe is capable of transporting us to an entirely new place. The splendor that underlies the phoenixes and the splendor that underlies the cathedral shine off of one another, creating a space of massive tension that moves every one of us.”