Beijing-based gallery INK studio marks its debut in the Galleries sector of Art Basel Hong Kong with a selection of painting, sculpture and video installation by four celebrated Chinese artists, whose practices radically transform China’s art historic and philosophic traditions to address contemporary global concerns.
The pre-modern Chinese worldview sees humanity as an extension of the natural world, and artists as mediums through which the patterns and principles of nature are made visible, open to empirical experience, and thus knowable. The artworks on view present distinct articulations of this philosophy. Located at booth 3D08, the presentation is anchored by Zheng Chongbin’s latest installation-paintings and complemented by Bingyi’s Sonic Paintings and Huang Zhiyang’s biomorphic white marble sculptures. Paris-based Yang Jiechang’s seminal One Hundred Layers of Ink series is featured as a historical presentation in the curated Kabinett section.
Following Zheng Chongbin’s debut at Art Basel Hong Kong 2017 in both the Insights and Film Sections, INK studio’s 2018 presentation features his new painting- and video-installations. By exploring and exploiting the immanent qualities and behavior of his materials— ink, acrylic, water and paper—Zheng has developed a distinctive language of indexical abstraction—what critic Mark van Proyen calls “pre-constructed” in contrast to “de-constructed” art. Inspired by the writings of American earthworks artist Robert Smithson, Zheng uses his indexical abstraction not to picture but to instantiate—at physical and temporal scales perceivable by humans—the entropic dynamics and resulting fractal geometries of the earth’s geological processes. Mounted on custom-fabricated, honeycomb-aluminum panels, Zheng’s latest works move into three-dimensional wall sculpture, enabling him to integrate elements of his light-and-space installation practice. In these works, Zheng incorporates insights from his immersive Wall of Skies installation for the 2016 Shanghai Biennale: Why Not Ask Again? Zheng also continues to explore the acrylic video-installations he debuted in a solo exhibition at the Asia Society’s Yoshio Taniguchi-designed Houston museum in October 2017. Of note, Art Basel Hong Kong 2018 also coincides with the display of works from this series at LACMA and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Bingyi’s monumental land-and-weather work Wanwu: Metamorphosis in Art Basel Hong Kong 2017 Encounters section was met with widespread acclaim. For this year’s edition of Art Basel Hong Kong, INK studio presents her major series of human-scale land-and-weather works entitled Sonic Paintings. These works were created amidst the destruction of Beijing’s traditional hutong neighborhoods. Bingyi uses ink as "dark light" (carbon, an absolute absorber of light, in water, nature's universal solvent, fixed in time by paper, through absorption and evaporation) to capture the movement of sound waves at these sites of cultural destruction. INK studio also presents a selection of Bingyi’s encyclopedic series Fairies, an ongoing catalog of virtual bio-organismic forms inspired by her exploration of classical literary themes.
Also included is Huang Zhiyang’s sumptuous white marble sculpture series of biomorphic and landscape forms Possessing Numerous Peaks. Huang Zhiyang in the 1990’s was Taiwan’s most widely recognized ecology-activist artist and represented Taiwan in the 46th Venice Biennale in 1995. Huang was also featured prominently in the ground-breaking American exhibition Inside Out: New Chinese Art (1998) jointly organized by MoMA PS1 and the Asia Society in New York. In 2010’s World Expo Shanghai, massive granite versions of Possessing Numerous Peaks were featured alongside sculptures by artists such as Zhang Huan, Subodh Gupta and Tomas Saraceno. Huang sees the natural world as a hyper-organism: humans form communities of organisms that are in turn organisms, recursively in nested levels of complexity. Because each of us is a microcosm of the larger hyper-organism we can directly perceive the animating energy (qi) flowing through the meridians (mai) that constitute both our bodies and the world of which we are a part. Huang’s sculptures map these meridians in linear grooves rendering the rhythmic patterns of geomantic energies both visible and tactile.
INK studio’s Kabinett section features seminal experimental ink abstractions by Yang Jiechang from the 1980’s. These spawned Yang’s iconic One Hundred Layers of Ink series that debuted at the groundbreaking 1989 Pompidou exhibition Magiciens de la Terre. With fewer than 60 surviving works, this series charts the crucial first steps in Yang’s evolution from traditional painter-calligrapher to conceptual artist and global political actor. We will tell this fresh story by exhibiting fourteen 1980s works and one exceptional Hundred Layers piece, alongside an original documentary video. Related works by Yang were prominently featured in the Guggenheim’s recent large-scale survey Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World.
INK Studio is an art gallery based in Beijing. Its mission is to present Chinese experimental ink as a distinctive contribution to contemporary transnational art-making in a closely-curated exhibition program supported by in-depth critical analysis, scholarly exchange, bilingual publishing, and multimedia production. Representing more than 13 artists, including Bingyi, He Yunchang, Li Jin, Li Huasheng, Wang Dongling, Yang Jiechang, and Zheng Chongbin, the gallery exhibits works of diverse media, including painting, calligraphy, sculpture, installation, performance, photography, and video. Since its inception in 2012, INK Studio has regularly appeared at art fairs such as the Armory Show (New York), Art Basel Hong Kong, and West Bund Art & Design (Shanghai) and placed works into major public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, and M+, Hong Kong.