Chinese contemporary artist Xu Bing has been fascinated by the tobacco industry for more than 10 years. Bing, who was born in the Zhejiang province in 1955, first began adding cigarette pieces to his Tobacco Project series in 2000. And he just added three new eye-catching exhibits to the collection, including this awe-inspiring “tiger skin” rug made from 500,000 cigarettes.
While using cigarettes to craft a home decor piece may sound a little unconventional, it isn’t the first time Bing has given it a try. He assembled his first cigarette rug exhibit, entitled “Honor and Splendor,” in 2004 from 660,000 “Wealth” brand cigarettes. His second rug installation, called “First Class,” was just completed this year and makes a stunning addition to the cigarette collection.
You may be tempted to curl up on these rugs in front of a fireplace. But that may not be such a good idea. The hundreds of thousands of “Wealth” brand cigarettes will likely be less than comfortable. Dozens of assistants collaborated to execute Bing’s vision for the monstrous exhibits.
Bing’s “First Class” piece is comprised of 500,000 cigarettes, adhesive and carpeting. The enormous rug weighs in at about 440 pounds and gets its tiger-like stripes from the tan and white color variations in the butts Bing chose.
Bing’s most recent “First Class” rug, along with another new piece and two classics from the Tobacco Project collection, will be on display at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts until Dec. 4. The collection will be moved to the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Conn. in January of next year. So, if you’re planning a road trip to the East Coast, this collection is definitely a must-see.