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

Zheng Chongbin presents a new version of his acclaimed light-and-space installation Wall of Skies during the 11th Shanghai Biennale, Why Not Ask Again?, where he has been selected as one of 11 Highlighted Artists by curators Raqs Media Collective.

Wall of Skies consists of a complex folded structure fully enclosed by a tilted ceiling and slanted walls, creating a delicate interplay of nonparallel lines and planes. Freed from architectural and perspectival positioning, the viewer continually recreates the space by navigating the installation’s surfaces, recalling the sanyuan or "three distances" of classical Chinese landscape paintings. Resolving neither into painting, nor sculpture, nor pure light and space, Wall of Skies insists on its material presence even as its objecthood is dissolved in a spatial experience.

Wall of Skies was first presented in Zheng's eponymous solo exhibition at INK studio in May 2015. The new version in Shanghai, conceived specifically for the Biennale venue of the Power Station of Art, subtly incorporates the light of the Huangpu riverscape beyond. Appropriate to the Biennale’s theme, it occupies the interstices between conceptual categories—artifice and nature, objecthood and perception, immersion and circulation—and compels us to rethink them.

January 17, 2017