Art Basel Hong Kong 2022: Bingyi, Jeong Gwang-hee

27 - 29 May 2022 
Bingyi | Encounters | Booth EN1
Bingyi & Jeong Gwang-hee | Statelitte | Booth 1B23
Hong Kong Convention And Exhibition Centre, 1 Harbour Rd, Wan Chai, Hong Kong


VIP Preview
5.25 - 26, 12: 00 - 20:00
5.27 - 28, 12:00 - 14:00
5.29, 11:00 - 12:00


5.27 (Friday), 14:00 - 20:00


Public hours
5.28, 14:00 - 20:00
5.29, 12:00 - 18:00


To access Art Basel Hong Kong 2022 Online Viewing Rooms, please refer to website. Login in with VIP code on May 25th. General admission opens on May 26th at 2:00 pm HKT.




INKstudio presents INK as medium and language for concept, process and performance through the works of conceptual calligrapher Jeong Gwang-hee (b. 1971) and land-artist-landscapist Bingyi (b. 1974). Both artists were recently featured in the 2021 exhibition INK Dreams at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.



Encounters Sector


Over the past decade, Bingyi has developed a site-specific land-and weather-art practice where she harnesses the distinct capacity of ink to create a reality-scaled record of the climatic and topological forces shaping a natural or urban landscape. Factors such as gravity, wind direction, evaporation, humidity, air pressure, condensation, rain, sunlight, and the topography of the land together shape the interaction of ink, water and paper. In this way, Bingyi’s earthworks embody a reality-scaled collaboration between the artist and the weather system specific to a natural topography. The resulting works look “abstract” but bear little relation to the modern history of non-objective or nonrepresentational art.


For the Encounters sector of Art Basel Hong Kong 2022, INKstudio is delighted to present three of ten, ten-meter long panels from the 2018 site-specific, land and weather project entitled Emei Shan by the Beijing and Los Angeles-based artist Bingyi (b. 1974, lives and works in Beijing and Los Angeles).  Emei Mountain is the most recent in her series of land and weather works created at sacred mountain sites in China that register the effects of wind, sun, humidity, air pressure, and terrain with ink and water on bespoke xuan paper. The installation will include a short video documentary on the larger Emei Mountain land and weather project.


For the Earthwork-Landscapes Birth of Geology, Birth of Water and Birth of Black Holes, Bingyi moved her studio during the summer of 2018 to the Emei Mountains, a sacred Buddhist mountain site in Sichuan Province. After studying the topology, temperature, humidity, rainfall and convection currents of various locations she covered the topological features of the mountain with massive, bespoke sheets of xuan paper and then, over the course of several days, applied layers of ink and water. Factors such as gravity, wind direction, evaporation, humidity, air pressure, condensation, rain, sunlight, and the topography of the land together shaped the interaction of the ink, water and paper. In this way, Bingyi’s earthworks embody a reality-scaled collaboration between the artist and the weather system (or hydrocycle) specific to a natural topography (or watershed). The resulting works look “abstract” but bear little relation to the modern history of non-objective or nonrepresentational art. They are, instead, indexes of the transient and normally invisible material processes—like flow, diffusion, absorption and evaporation—that arise from differences in intensive material properties—such as density, saturation, pressure, and temperature. These intensive differences drive and shape the living dynamic systems that constitute not only the world around us—such as our weather—but the world within us—such as our perceptions and emotions.



Statelitte sector


In the series Streams and Mountains, Myriad Flowers, 2020-2021, Bingyi uses ink as "dark light" to illuminate the partly invisible qualities and always transient behavior of nature’s universal solvent—namely water. Unlike water, which only interacts weakly with light, ink, an almost perfect absorber of light, interacts strongly. By adding ink to water, Bingyi makes water and its behavior—such as flow, turbulence, and evaporation—visible to the human eye. Furthermore, because water has a capacity to respond to natural forces particularly forces driven by intensive differences such as temperature, light, pressure, humidity and gravity—ink can make the forces of nature—as exhibited by their effects on water—similarly visible to the human eye. After working with ink to make the movement and qualities of water visible, Bingyi then picks up a very fine painting brush and over the course of 12-18 months painstakingly adds multiple layers of ink—up to ten layers or more—to realize a final image. The series Streams and Mountains, Myriad Flowers was realized while the artist was on site in the Taihang Mountains in Northern China’s Eastern Yellow-River Loess.


At the booth, Bingyi’s medium-sized abstract ink paintings will be juxtaposed with Korean artist Jeong Gwang-hee’s semiotic exploration of calligraphy and character formation. Jeong Gwang-hee is a conceptual artist who uses calligraphy, painting, process art and performance art to explore the paradoxical Zen Buddhist use of language and non-language in the soteriological pursuit of enlightenment. However, unlike language-based Conceptual artists such as Joseph Kosuth and Lawrence Weiner who used language to address questions in art, Jeong uses art to address questions of language or, more precisely, meaning beyond language including the visual semiotics that precede language, insights that follow emancipation from language, the embodied experiences that underlie language, and soteriological methods that supersede language.


In Thoughts Transcend the Object, 2021, Jeong explores the relationship between image and word and between word and canonical text. He starts with the acquisition of antiquarian books, primarily canonical Confucian, Daoist and Buddhist texts. Jeong disassembles the books, painstakingly mounts and folds the pages and then assembles the folded pages into a vertical surface. Seen on edge, only a of portion of the writing on each page is visible; most of the written content is hidden rendering the text largely unintelligible. Upon this surface, Jeong then paints, with ink and calligraphic brush, what at first appears to be an abstract black form. After prolonged inspection, however, a diagram, graph or image begins to take shape. With some epigraphic sleuthing, this graph resolves into a human eye, set upon two legs, walking down a path and now standing at the four corners of an intersection—Jeong’s interpretation of the ancient oracle-bone ideograph for the Chinese character for Dao 道 “the Way” or “discourse.” In the East Asian hermeneutic tradition, culture is constructed through the discursive interpretation of canonical scriptures. Here, Jeong advocates for a singular philological focus—a word-image—to serve as the lens through which one interprets this canon. Indeed, Jeong’s particular rendering of Dao emphasizes the crossroads along “the Way,” the perpetual moment of questioning in the unfolding of a lived discourse.


In the series Ja.Ah.Kyung (a scripture reflecting myself)_ Ja.Ah.Kyung (a mirror reflecting), 2016-2021, Jeong again starts with creating a vertical surface for his ink painting made from the folded pages of antiquarian Confucian, Daoist and Buddhist books. This time, before mounting and folding the book pages, Jeong writes in Hangul calligraphy his thoughts and impressions from that day adding on top of the canonical scripture a personal journal entry. When folded and seen on edge, his writing becomes illegible, yet when stacked to form a vertical surface, the shape of a rectangular mirror emerges. To Jeong, the series is a wordless book, “A scripture reflecting myself: a sutra without words … A mirror reflecting: a self-illuminating lamp that illuminates the inner self … The records that show the me who was yesterday is no longer the me who is now.” Jeong’s mirror metaphor describes meditation as a process of the mind reflecting on itself. Jeong’s artistic practice, in turn, is itself a process that trans mediates this internal mental process into an external form that we can all see and experience. For Jeong, the appropriate context for our interpretation of canonical scriptures is our own individual process of self-reflection. Subjective, embodied experience, thus underlies our understanding of scripture making the classics but confirmatory footnotes to one’s own lived experience.


In the series The Way of Reflection, 2017-2021, Jeong rolls Korean mulberry hanji paper into small balls by hand and then dips them into ink in a partly-controlled, partly-uncontrolled process. Jeong then attaches the hundreds of ink-glazed paper balls one-at-a-time onto a blank sheet of hanji paper in a rectangular grid analogous to written characters on a printed page. In this way, Jeong makes liberation from conceptual category a repeated meditative process and thereby integrates into a coherent visual whole what in Buddhist practice would be called sudden and gradual enlightenment. The visual patterns that emerge from the interplay of black and white, substance and emptiness, sudden and gradual, process and form, are evocative of another hermeneutic tradition. Specifically, Jeong’s arrays of wadded and inked hanji balls are like the broken and unbroken yin and yang lines in a hexagram from the Zhou Dynasty (1050 – 771 BC) classic Yijing or “Book of Changes.” Jeong’s arrays, however, are vastly more complex than an Yijing hexagram; whereas a hexagram, as its name indicates, has only six possible alternations, only one of Jeong’s arrays can encompass hundreds. It is worth noting that the Yijing or Book of Changes is a Confucian and a Taoist classic, whereas the Platform Sutra (ca. 8th Century)—where the principles of sudden and gradual enlightenment are most clearly expounded—is a Zen Buddhist classic. The Way of Reflection thus posits a non-linguistic soteriological method—a practice that leads to enlightenment—that unites these two canonical texts while, at the same the time, superseding them.