Bingyi's art is saturated with an aristocratic sophistication and elegant classicism, rooted in her aesthetic and academic training that has developed over many years. Her biography has to be written interms of hardships: her parents divorced when she was young; she moved around without a normal family life. Nonetheless, she has thrived though these difficulties and has graduated with a Ph.D. degree from Yale University with impressive academic honors.
Although Bingyi has established herself as a young art historian, she is a devoted painter and poet. She paints, writes, travels and sees the world through her boundlessly curious eyes. This exhibition presents four media that materialize a combination of creative methodology and social and cultural activities.
As life flows like water and time, landscape extends and meanders, her thought ebbs and continues. This sensational boundlessness can only be described as beyond "Yi," the Chinese expression of metaphysics. Her impressive format, the long scroll, is the ultimate expression of a mental dwelling.
Five hundred Arhats; a thousand li of mountains and water; a thousand Buddhas - classical Chinese culture has always poeticized the infinity of numbers as a boundless spiritual pursuit. The formalism of Bingyi's scroll inspires meditation, experience and enlightenment. This process has always been asharing experience amongst the painter and her viewers, as the notion of a "scroll" here is anartistic embodiment of "yaji," the scholarly gathering.
Today, the time for yaji is long gone. What has taken its place is public exhibitions and social parties. Hence the idea of the "scroll" no longer plays a role in our cultural life. Bingyi, however, continues to organize scholarly gatherings and likewise continues with the creative format of the "scroll." As the scroll grows into her signature style, she has enlarged the scale to fit contemporary exhibition spaces. If ancient viewers used "hands and eyes" to view the scroll, we have to view paintings with "feet and eyes." We can be instantly taken by her grandiose compositions and will no longer need to roll the paintings. Such departure is challenging yet also meaningful, for Bingyi has managed to maintain a spectacular coherence in her overall composition while carefully cultivating idiosyncrasy in her details. Her paintings, like fallen flowers and flowy water waves, are loose, imaginative and transcendental, for a whimsical semiotic cause: every detail can be "read" both as a story, and as a sign.
Bingyi's paintings seemingly are telling various intimate stories, yet every image is also a sign, whether it is a tree or a flower. It represents a "monogatari" of events, characters and thoughts from the past. They are notes carefully selected from ancient novels, poetry and parables and have been subtly annotated by Bingyi's personal interpretation.
After the socialist revolution, reform, opening up, and globalization, the Chinese are no longer used to the aristocratic notion of "private viewing." Intimate experience with art is not only a private matter. It is a medication of a cultural individual, a lonesome retreat in a crowded metropolitan city, a self-aspiration for a creative mind. Such intimacy or privacy is instrumental for a city dweller to keep her conviction and engagement with art and culture.