b. 1975, lives and works in Beijing


An artist, architectural designer, curator, cultural critic, and social activist, Bingyi (b. 1975, Beijing) has developed a multi-faceted practice that encompasses land and environmental art, site-specific architectural installation, musical and literary composition, ink painting, performance art, and filmmaking. Adopting a non-anthropocentric perspective and channeling nature’s creative agency, her work is centrally concerned with the themes of ecology, ruins, rebirth, and poetic imagination. After pursuing university-level studies in biomedical and electronic engineering in the United States, Bingyi earned a Ph.D. in Art History and Archeology from Yale University in 2005 with a dissertation on the art of the Han Dynasty.


In her large-scale ink paintings, 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. Over months or even years, she collaborates 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. She then uses installation and performance to recuperate these forces in the live embodied experience of the viewer.


In October 2013, she 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, she created Epoché, a huge public performance and installation commissioned by the Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport. Working with the conditions of suspension, gravity, land, and wind, she bombarded an airfield with 20-kilogram oil-and-ink "missiles"—500 kilograms of material in total—at different heights from a helicopter. The resultant monumental canvas, a record of the performance and event, was hung centrally in the airport for a month. Nicknamed modan or "ink bomb," the piece became an internet sensation.


In her March 2015 solo show at Ink Studio, she created a two-floor immersive environment with her massive 2013 work Wanwu. Wanwu 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. Installed again in a different manner for the Encounters public program of Art Basel Hong Kong 2016, Wanwu was a highlight of the art fair and was centrally featured in a variety of media outlets, including being selected as one of the top fifteen booths by Artsy. Recently, Bingyi has extended her nature paintings to incorporate the agencies of ice and sound waves.


At the other end of her practice, Bingyi explores the microscopic origins of organic life in intimate, small-format paintings, in which her minute and meticulous brushwork paradoxically reveals a profoundly creative, gestural, and "calligraphically expressive" quality drawn from her daily calligraphy routine. Through her 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. Her encyclopedic series Fairies are "catalogues" of the endless virtual forms assumed by organismic life, each with an associated personal anecdote or poetic fantasy.


In recent years, she has turned her attention to film-making. Part of a larger project documenting the disappearance of Beijing hutong, her narrative film trilogy Ruins will premier at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in spring 2019.


Bingyi has exhibited internationally at Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art (2016); Istanbul Modern (2016); 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), and 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). 


Bingyi's works can be found in the White Rabbit Contemporary Chinese Art Collection, Sydney, Australia; and the collections, among others, of, the Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, Chicago, USA; Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Alicante, Alicante, Spain; and Museum of Chinese Women and Children, Beijing, China. She has been the subject of three documentaries: 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. 




To: Artist's Website





Born in Beijing, China





PhD in History of Art, Yale University, New Haven, USA



Master of Arts, Yale University, New Haven, USA



Bachelor of Arts, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, USA






Bingyi: Intensive/Extensive, Ink Studio, Beijing, China


Inside the Wall, Alvaro Alcazar, Madrid, Spain










Epoché, Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport, Shenzhen, China

Toronto Project: To the Non-Earthlings, Center Platform of Toronto City Hall, Toronto, Canada

Bingyi: Metamorphosis I, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Alicante, Alicante, Spain

Bingyi: Metamorphosis II, Art Gallery, Miguel Hernández University of Elche, Elche, Spain

Bingyi: Wanwu, Galeríe Charpa, Valencia, Spain




Bingyi: Heaven in the Cave, The Emperor Beijing Qianmen, Beijing, China (a collaboration with ASAP Design New York)



Gestalt of the Wind, St. Johannes-Evangelist-Kirche, Berlin, Germany




Rhapsody of Four (Performance), Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, USA and Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, Chicago, USA



Cascade, Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, Chicago, USA




Seamlessly Lost, Gallerie Erna Hecey, Brussels, Belgium

Skin: Bingyi Solo Exhibition, Contrasts Gallery, Shanghai, China







I Have Four Rooms: One Room Aches, One Room Breaks, One Room Meanders, One Room Hangs, Tang Contemporary, Hong Kong S.A.R., China

Six Accounts of A Floating Life, Max Protetch Gallery, New York, USA

Bingyi: Invisible Rivers Invisible Towns, projects staged in various outdoor locations, as published by Art Map, Beijing, China





Dawns Here Are Quiet II, Ethan Cohen Fine Arts, New York, USA

Dawns Here Are Quiet I, Center for the Arts, Buffalo, USA

Between Omnipresence and Reminiscence, Sanshang Gallery, Beijing, China











Till It's Gone: An Exhibition on Nature and Sustainability, Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, Istanbul, Turkey

Humanistic Nature and Society (Shan - Shui 山水) - A People's Biography, Shanghai Himalayas Museum, Shanghai, China





Shadow of Dust, When the Sun Blooms, WiE Kultur, Berlin, Germany

Chinese Female Artists Exhibition, Xi'an Art Musem, Xi'an, China and Museum of Chinese Women and Children, Beijing, China




Original Forms of Chinese Water Ink Painting, Sanchuan Modern Art Museum, Nanjing, China






Decade of The Rabbit, White Rabbit Gallery, Sydney, Australia    

Surveyors, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, USA

Half of the Sky: Women in the New Art of China, National Museum of Art of China, Beijing, China and Drexel University, Philadelphia, USA




Wild Things, Kunsthallen Brandts, Odense, Denmark

Ten Years at the White Rabbit, White Rabbit Art Gallery, Sydney, Australia





Yi Pai-Century Thinking, Today Art Museum, Beijing, China

Opening Exhibition, The White Rabbit Collection, Sydney, Australia

Dress Codes: Clothing as Metaphor, The Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, USA








The Yi School: Thirty Years of Chinese Abstract Art, CaixaForum Madrid, Madrid, Spain

The 7th Gwangju Biennale, Annual Report: A Year in Exhibitions, Gwangju, South Korea

State of City, Rochester Contemporary Art Center, Rochester, USA

The New Chinese Paintings, The Deutsch Bank Gallery, New York, USA







City, New Landscape: Contemporary Urban Architecture Biennale (a sub-exhibition of "The 2nd Shenzhen Biennale: 07 Shenzhen-Hong Kong City and Architecture Biennale), Chongqing Urban Planning Exhibition Hall (main location), Chongqing, China

Seduction and Confusion, Keumsan Gallery, Beijing, China and Seoul, South Korea






White Rabbit Art Gallery, Sydney, Australia

Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, Chicago, USA

Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Alicante, Alicante, Spain

Museum of Chinese Women and Children, Beijing, China

Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA

Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, MA, USA


Last Updated: December 2018