INTENSIVE/EXTENSIVE: BINGYI

21 March - 3 May 2015

Ink Studio is pleased to announce the opening of Bingyi's first major solo exhibition in China Intensive/Extensive on March 21, 2015.

 

Born in Beijing in 1975, Bingyi moved to the United States, where she pursued university-level studies in biomedical and electronic engineering before graduating from Yale University with a Ph.D. in Art History and Archeology in 2005. Her thesis Rereading Mawangdui, from Chu to Han was the sixth most read dissertation out of 70,000 from 2006. A contemporary polymath artist, architectural designer, writer, curator, cultural critic, and social activist, Bingyi combines her interests in ecology, science, philosophy, history, and aesthetics into a multi-faceted artistic practice that encompasses land and environmental art, site-specific architectural installation, musical and literary composition, ink painting, and performance art.

 

 

LAND AND WEATHER

Bingyi is perhaps best known for her large-scale ink paintings in which she collaborates, over months or years, with the environmental conditions of a specific site to capture a reality-scaled record of the climatic and topological forces shaping a natural or urban landscape. Last year in October, for example, Bingyi occupied the center of Toronto's city hall to create a 1,800 square meter ink painting over the course of a twelve-hour outdoor public performance entitled Metamorphosis: To the Non-earthlings. Less than three months later, working with the conditions of suspension, gravity, land and wind, she bombarded an airfield with 20 kilogram oil-and-ink "missiles" (500 kg of material in total) in a huge public installation commissioned by the Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport entitled Epoché.

 

For Intensive/Extensive, Bingyi will work with installation designer Bricks Li to create a two-floor immersive environment from her massive 2013 work Wanwu, the most recent in a series of land and weather works created at sacred mountain sites in China. In Wanwu, Bingyi uses the natural elements of wind, sun, humidity, air pressure and terrain in combination with the traditional materials of ink and water on bespoke xuan paper to reveal the intensive forces driving the earth processes-both geological and the climatological-that shape our extensive world. In this way, Bingyi uses ink as "dark light"-carbon, an absolute absorber of light, in water, nature's universal translucent solvent-to illuminate the usually invisible and transient physical processes that enable ordered patterns and forms to arise from chaos.

 

 

MACRO TO MICRO

Bingyi's ontological concerns as a philosopher-scientist-artist span vastly different scales, from the macroscopic forces of geology and climate to the microscopic origins of organic life. For Intensive/Extensive, Bingyi will exhibit publicly for the first time works in the intimate fan format from her encyclopedic series Fairies--a "catalog" of the endless virtual forms assumed by organismic life. In the same space, Bingyi will create a wall-sized installation from Luminaries,a series of scenes from the lives of biotic organisms as if witnessed through the lens of a microscope, inspired by that artist's poetic meditations on the origins of life.

 

To articulate the embryogenic rise of complex, organismic (extensive) order from (intensive) physical energy and matter, Bingyi employs the precision of what many might mistake for mechanical, gongbi or "meticulous brush" painting. Upon closer inspection, however, Bingyi's minute, almost microscopic brushwork reveals a profoundly creative and gestural, xieyi or "calligraphically expressive" quality drawn from her daily practice of xiaokai or "small regular" calligraphy. Through Bingyi's hypnotic, obsessive endurance and execution both painstaking and nuanced, one senses the loving power of nature itself as it crafts animate life from inanimate matter.

 

 

PERFORMANCE

Performance is a third integral dimension to Bingyi's artistic practice, specifically improvisational ju or "opera"-the integrated performance of music, poetry, theater and choreography. A contemporary synthesis of Greek drama and the counter-cultural artistic gatherings of mingshi, or "extraordinary persona" of the Six Dynasties, Bingyi plays host to classically-trained, experimental poets, musicians, artists and dancers-each a protagonist improvising within an overarching structure of musical, poetic and theatrical themes set by the artist. During Intensive/Extensive Bingyi will stage an improvisational performance in Beijing whose site and date are to be announced.

 

 

DOCUMENTARY

As part of Intensive/Extensive, Ink Studio will continuously screen from three documentaries on the art of Bingyi: The Enduring Passion for Ink-A Series on Contemporary Ink Painters: Bingyi's Madness, on Bingyi's process as an ink painter, filmed by Richard Widmer and directed by Britta Erickson; Shape of the Wind, on Bingyi's land and weather art, and Epoché, on Bingyi's Shenzhen airport performance/event, both filmed and edited by Richard Widmer.

 

 

BACKGROUND

Bingyi (b. 1975, Beijing) is an artist, architectural designer, curator, writer, cultural critic and social activist. She graduated with an M.A. and Ph.D. in Art History and Archeology from Yale University in 2005 and has exhibited internationally in Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Alicante, Alicante, Spain (2014), St. Johannes-Evangelist-Kirche, Berlin, Germany (2012), Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, Chicago, USA (2010), Galerie Erna Hecey, Brussels, Belgium (2009), Contrasts Gallery, Shanghai, China (2009), and Max Protetch Gallery, New York, USA (2008). Her works have also been included in Surveyors, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, USA (2011), Yipai, the Opening of the New Wing, Today Art Museum, Beijing, China (2009) and featured at The 7th Gwangju Biennale, Annual Report: A Year in Exhibitions, Gwangju, South Korea (2008).

 

Ink Studio was founded in 2012, to present new developments in experimental Chinese ink painting to international curators, critics, collectors and institutions in a tightly-curated program of solo and group exhibitions, bilingual monographs (published with D.A.P.), and short documentary films. Artistic Director Dr. Britta Erickson, one of the leading scholars and curators of contemporary Chinese art, has been working with China's leading ink artists since the 1980s. For Ink Studio, she organizes four museum-quality exhibitions per year-each, a unique curatorial collaboration between Dr. Erickson and the artist. Ink Studio is a member of the New York ACAW Consortium along with the Asia Society, New York MoMA, and Guggenheim Museum. Past exhibitions include: Zheng Chongbin: Impulse, Matter, Form (Spring, 2013); Chen Haiyan: Carving the Unconscious (Fall, 2013); Wang Dongling: The Origins of Abstraction (Fall, 2013); Huang Zhiyang: The Phenomenology of Life (Spring, 2014); Yang Jiechang: This Is Still Landscape Painting (Spring, 2014); Ink and the Body (Fall, 2014); and Li Huasheng: Process, Mind and Landscape (Fall, 2014).

 

For more information, please contact: info@inkstudio.com.cn