11th Shanghai Biennale, Why Not Ask Again?: Zheng Chongbin

11 November 2016 - 12 March 2017 

High-resolution installation images are available at this address: https://pan.baidu.com/s/1c1LQk7I


November 11, 2016 - March 12, 2017

3F, Power Station of Art, 200 Huayuangang Rd, Huangpu, Shanghai


Zheng Chongbin, exclusively represented by INK studio, will present a new version of his acclaimed light-and-space installation Wall of Skies at the 2016 Shanghai Biennale, Why Not Ask Again? (Power Station of Art, 200 Huayuangang Rd, Huangpu, Shanghai), November 11, 2016 – March 12, 2017. Zheng has been selected as one of 11 Highlighted Artists by Biennale curators Raqs Media Collective.


A native of Shanghai, Zheng Chongbin (b. 1961) trained in traditional figurative ink painting at the Hangzhou Academy of Art (now China Academy of Art) and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1989. Over the past decades, he has developed a distinctive body of paintings that make the vitality of matter perceptible, realizing nature’s processes in the interactions of ink, acrylic, paper, and light. His profile has risen dramatically in recent years, with solo shows at INK studio (May-September 2015), Sotheby’s S|2 Hong Kong (April-May, 2016), and the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) (August 6-December 4, 2016), and major acquisitions by the Daimler Art Collection, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, M+, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and OCMA. He showed an environmental video installation in a Collateral Event of the 2015 Venice Biennale.


Wall of Skies debuted in Zheng’s eponymous solo exhibition at INK studio in May 2015. It consists of a monumental work of ink on paper mounted on a complex folded structure. The installation is illuminated with a specially designed array of LED lights and enclosed by a tilted ceiling, reflective floor, and slanted walls. It creates a delicate interplay between nonparallel lines and planes, and between monumental solidity, ethereal reflections, and absorbing textures. Freed from linear perspective and architectural framing, the viewer continually recreates the space by navigating the installation’s surfaces, recalling the sanyuan or “three distances” in traditional Chinese landscape paintings. Identifying Zheng’s ambivalent affinities with both postmodern Western and premodern Chinese worldviews, critic Mark van Proyen has described his painting as “preconstruction” in distinction to “deconstruction.”


The Shanghai version of Wall of Skies has been conceived specifically for the Biennale and the venue of the Power Station of Art, which overlooks the Huangpu River and the Pudong skyline. The installation incorporates the view and natural light with a scrim and accentuates the porousness of ink and paper. Resolving neither into painting, nor sculpture, nor pure light and space, Wall of Skies insists on its material presence even as it is dissolved in spatial experience. Appropriate to the Biennale’s theme of “Why Not Ask Again?” Wall of Skies occupies the interstices between conceptual categories—artifice and nature, objecthood and perception, immersion and circulation—and compels us to rethink them. In the context of an international contemporary art fair, Wall of Skies also seeks to generate conversations between audiences and cultural traditions.


Concurrently with the Shanghai Biennale, INK studio will present Zheng Chongbin’s latest paintings at the West Bund Art & Design (Booth C3, West Bund Art Center, 2555 Longteng Avenue, Shanghai), November 9-13, 2016.