From Chapter 40 of the Daodejing: "The myriad things under heaven spring from Being, and Being springs from Non-being." As the begetting of myriad images from nothing and from the state of selflessness, the painting of Zheng Chongbin and the music of Johann Sebastian Bach share certain deep affinities. If Bach, with his clockwork sincerity, brings the listener into a state of pure and natural bliss, then Zheng's paintings transports the viewer to a realm of capacious voidness through his selfless bodily and gestural involvement.
In both Bach's selfless pursuit of logical precision and Zheng's tension-filled suppression of self, there is an attempt to purify artistic medium, to turn it into a transparent vehicle of myriad images by dissolving one's individual voice. For this reason, the experience of their works has nothing to do with the artist's emotions or intended meanings, but rather an infinite extension and dissolution of oneself outwards into nature and inwards into profound reflection.
Bach's Goldberg Variations is a supreme example of outward extension into nature. The 32 variations are all composed with extreme precision, and yet manifest a plain natural beauty. The music by turns reverberates like waves shimmering in the sun and becomes expansive like a garden under an open sky.
Zheng Chongbin, who sometimes listens to Bach while painting, leads the viewer into a state of inner awareness.
In Untitled, he breaks away from the habits and methods of traditional Chinese painting by using a brush with flat, hard bristles. Interweaving ink and acrylic, his gesturality becomes an objectification of the viewer's reflection. The four large and relatively quickly applied passages of ink contrast with the gradually-formed fractal detailed, creating a subtle sense of rhythm.
Approaching a work of sculpture, Terrain records the physical process of ink and paper drying with different degrees of wetness and tension. Its monumental presence encompasses the viewer, but its paper-thinness and metallic sheen dissolve all emotions.