Art Basel | Hong Kong 2017: Zheng Chongbin

23 - 25 March 2017 

Media packet with high-resolution images are available at


Insights: Booth 3D28

March 23 - 25, 2017

Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, 1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, China


INK studio is proud to present the latest paintings of conceptual and experimental ink artist Zheng Chongbin alongside the world premiere of his new video Roots of the Sky (2016) at Art Basel | Hong Kong 2017. Located in booth 3D28 in the Insights section, this presentation comes as Zheng is gaining tremendous international recognition, with recent acquisitions by the Brooklyn Museum, Daimler Art Collection, Los Angeles Museum of Art (LACMA), M+, and Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as a featured installation at the 11th Shanghai Biennale. Zheng’s video Chimeric Landscape (2015) will also be screened in Art Basel's film section.


Central to Zheng’s art is notion of the world as always in flux—consisting of flows of matter and energy that repeatedly cohered and dissipated. Inherent in pre-modern Chinese and especially Daoist thought, this notion did not become widespread in Western culture until 19th-century scientific developments such as Darwin’s discovery of evolution. The resultant worldview, based on dynamic processes rather than static objects and categories, has enabled contemporary inquiries into complex systems like climate and social behavior, artificial intelligence, and quantum physics, as well as process-based art and land art. Through the interactions of ink, acrylic, water, and paper, Zheng’s paintings both generate and record the processes that underlie the emergence of order (including organic life and human consciousness) and its inevitable dissipation. The paintings resemble natural structures ranging from neurons, blood vessels, and tree branches to mountains, rivers, and coastlines, without depicting or representing them objectively.


Zheng’s latest three-channel video, Roots of the Sky, explores three interrelated natural processes: topology, water flow, and plant life. In a stream of microscopic and macroscopic images and an accompanying soundscape, Zheng contracts and expands these processes to the scale of human perception. Whereas his paintings generate these processes in an artistic medium and fix them in time, his video installations unfold their occurrence in nature spatially and temporally.


Zheng Chongbin (b. 1961) was educated as a classical Chinese figurative painter at the elite China Academy of Art in Hangzhou. He was widely acclaimed as one of China’s preeminent young experimental ink painters in 1980’s. In 1989, he received a fellowship from the San Francisco Art Institute to study installation, performance, and conceptual art. Over the following decades, Zheng has developed a distinctive practice of formal abstraction, video installation, and light-and-space environments based on the properties and interactions of ink, water, paper, and light.


In the past two years, Zheng has been recognized by a rapidly growing number international curators and institutions. In April 2015, Zero Movement scholar Renata Wiehager exhibited Zheng’s White Reflection (2012) with a work by senior German artist Max Uhlig at Daimler Contemporary in Berlin. In May, Zheng debuted his environmental video installation, Chimeric Landscape (2015), at the European Cultural Centre’s exhibition Personal Structures during the Venice Biennale. In June, M+, under the direction of Lars Nittve, former founding Director of the Tate Modern, acquired eight works that document the development of Zheng’s practice since the 1980’s. Then in November 2015, LACMA began to feature the recently-acquired Turbulence (2013) in a two-artist presentation of Zheng and Roy Lichtenstein. In March 2016, the Metropolitan Museum of Art finalized its acquisition of Unfolding Landscape (2015) and in November, the Philadelphia Museum of Art its acquisition of Descending from the above (2016), both major abstract paintings by the artist. In the same month, Zheng was selected one of eleven highlighted artists by curators Raqs Media Collective for his room-sized installation Wall of Skies at the 2016 Shanghai Biennale Why Not Ask Again?