B. Shanghai, lives and works in San Francisco Bay AreaThroughout his career of three decades, Zheng Chongbin (b. 1961, Shanghai) has held the classical Chinese ink tradition and Western pictorial abstraction in productive mutual tension. Systematically exploring and deconstructing their conventions and constituents—figure, texture, space, geometry, gesture, materiality—he has developed a distinctive body of work that makes the vitality of matter directly perceptible. Central to Zheng’s art is the notion of the world as always in flux, consisting of flows of matter and energy that repeatedly cohered and dissipated. Inherent in pre-modern Chinese and especially Daoist thought, this worldview enables contemporary inquiries into complex systems like climate and social behavior, artificial intelligence, and quantum physics. Through the interactions of ink, acrylic, water, and paper, Zheng’s paintings generate and record the processes that underlie the emergence of order (including organic life and human consciousness) and its inevitable dissipation. His paintings thus resemble natural structures ranging from neurons, blood vessels, and tree branches to mountains, rivers, and coastlines, but by instantiating their formation rather than by objective depiction. Maintaining his work with painting, Zheng Chongbin synergistically has integrated his multi- media based exploration throughout his installation and video projects. His landmark light-and-space installation Wall of Skies (2015) consists of a complex folded structure fully enclosed by a tilted ceiling and slanted walls, creating a delicate interplay of nonparallel lines and planes. Resolving neither into painting, nor sculpture, nor pure light and space, it insists on its material presence even as its objecthood is dissolved in a spatial experience. The latest example includes his major site-specific installation Liquid Space (2019-) in the landmark Zen Temple Ryosoku-in / Kenninji in Kyoto Japan. In his video installations, Zheng represents processes of nature—from molecular and cellular to topographical and climatic—in the scale of human perception through microscopic and macroscopic imagery and accompanying soundscapes, unfolding these processes spatially and temporally. Zheng Chongbin was educated as a classical Chinese figurative painter at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, where he taught for four years after graduation in 1984. Acclaimed as one of China’s preeminent young experimental ink painters in the 1980's, he mounted his first solo exhibition at the Shanghai Museum of Art in 1988. In 1989, he received a fellowship from the San Francisco Art Institute to study installation, performance, and conceptual art, receiving his MFA in 1991. A resident of the San Francisco Bay Area for over three decades, Zheng is inspired by the region's distinctive atmospheric and environmental effects and rich ecologies, as well as by the California light and space movement. Zheng’s work can be found in the collections, among others, of the British Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, Chicago Art Institute, the Orange County Museum of Art in California, M+ in Hong Kong, the Daimler Art Collection in Stuttgart, Germany, the DSL Collection in France, and the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. Zheng is the subject of a documentary film, The Enduring Passion of Ink, and an in-depth monograph Zheng Chongbin: Impulse, Matter, Form, edited by Britta Erickson and distributed by D.A.P. in the United States.

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Zheng Chongbin. “You zuohua suo xiangdao de” [Thoughts from Painting]. Huajia [Painter], no. 3 - September 1986: 30-31

Zheng Chongbin. “Shuimo: zuowei xiangzheng yiwei de yuyan” [Ink: As a Symbolic Language]. Huajia [Painter] - September 1986


Zheng Chongbin. Thoughts Generated by Painting, An Essay on His Work. China Fine Arts Journal, - May 1987


Lang, Shaojun. “Chouxiang yuhui de xunzhao: Zheng Chongbin shuimohua de qishi” [In Search of an Abstract Vocabulary: On Zheng Chongbin’s Ink Paintings]. Zhongguo meishu bao [China Fine Arts Journal], vol. 21. - May 23, 1988

Fine Arts In China, May 1988, fig. Zheng, Chongbin. Lianpu [Facial Types] (1987/88), fig. Ren de lingyi zhong zhuangtai [Anther State of Man] (1988)


“Abstract Meeting of East and West.” San Francisco Chronicle - July 28, 1989
“Image Magazine.” San Francisco Chronicle - September 10, 1989, 44–45


Cohn, Terri. “Counter Attacks.” Artweek - December 12, 1991


“Conceptual Art by the Book.” San Francisco Examiner, Art Section, - April 24, 1992
“From Cover to Cover.” Artweek, - May 7, 1992


Noth, Jochen, et al., eds. China Avant-Garde: Counter-Currents in Art and Culture. Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1993


“Group 6 Goes to China.” Artweek - November 17, 1994, 3


Erickson, Britta. “Zheng Chongbin de kongjian lingyu” [Innovations in Space: Ink Paintings by Zheng Chongbin]. InZheng, Chongbin. Zheng Chongbin: shuimo hua [Zheng Chongbin: Ink Painting]. Shanghai: printed by author 2007

Erickson, Britta. “Innovations in Space: Ink Paintings by Zheng Chongbin.” In Zheng Chongbin: Emergent. Singapore: Valentine Willie Fine Art, 2010. Variation of “Innovations in Space: Ink Paintings by Zheng Chongbin,” 2007

Zheng, Chongbin. Zheng Chongbin: Ink Painting. Shanghai: printed by author, 2007

Heibei Fine Arts Publishing House, 2007

Feng Bin, and Shen Kuiyi, eds. Reboot: The Third Chengdu Biennale. 2007


Chen, Xiaoxin. “Lun shuimo yishu lingyu nei de shehuixue zhuanxing” [On Sociological Transformation in Ink and Wash Paintings]. Pipingjia [Art Critic]. No. 1 (August 2008): 39-45.

Erickson, Britta. “Xinyi angran, hunhou tiancheng: lun Zheng Chongbin de shuimohua” [Discussing the Ink Paintings of Zheng Chongbin]. Meishu xiangdao [Art Guide], - no. 133 (March 2008): 35–48.

Erickson, Britta. “Kongjian yu huihua linian de chuangxin: Zheng Chongbin he Qiu Shihua de huihua” [Innovations in Space and Painting Philosophy: Paintings by Zheng Chongbin and Qiu Shihua]. In Feng, Bin and Shen Kuiyi, eds. Chongxin qidong: disanjie Chengdu shuangnianzhan [Reboot: The Third Chengdu Biennale]. Shijiazhuang: Hebei meishu chubanshe [Heibei Fine Arts Publishing House], 2007, 80–83. Edited version published in Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art. Vol. 7, no. 1 (January 2008): 56–58.

Vine, Richard. “Committed to Ink” Report from Chengdu Biennial - (January 2008): 66-69


Erickson, Britta. “Lun Zheng Chongbin de shuimohua” [Discussing the Ink Paintings of Zheng Chongbin]. Guojia meishu [National Arts], No. 8 (July/ August 2009): 44–51

Liao, Liao. “Chongsu yazhou hexin wenhua de yuyan” [Rebuild the Language of Asian Core Culture]. Zhongguo meishu [National Arts] (August 2009): 43–51

Chattopadhyay, Collette. Calligraffitti: ‘Writing’ in Contemporary Chinese and Chicano Art. Pasadena: Pacific Asia Museum, 2009, unpublished


Claypool, Lisa. “Where is Shanghai?.” Orientations 41, no. 1 (January / February 2010): 50–54. Ewart, Nancy. “The Dimension of Ink, #1 by Zheng Chongbin (at the Asian).” San Francisco Examiner - February 28, 2010

Hou, Hanru. “Zhen yu jia de duijie: Zheng Chongbin de xin zuo (jiexuan)” [Connecting Real and Fake: Zheng Chongbin’s Recent Works (Excerpts)]. Yishu dangdai [Art China]. No. 5 (2010): 96–97

Knight, Michael J., et al. Shanghai: Art of the City. 2010
San Francisco: Asian Art Museum, 2010.
Valentine Willie Fine Art. Zheng Chongbin: Emergent. 2010
Singapore: Valentine Willie Fine Art, 2010


Brenhouse, Hillary. “Brush with Modernity.” Time International (Asia Edition) - October 3, 2011. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2094434,00.html

Claypool, Lisa. “Architectonic Ink: Zheng Chongbin in Conversation with Lisa Claypool.” Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, Vol. 10. No. 4 (July/August 2011): 41–53

Claypool, Lisa. “Houxiandai shuimo” [Postmodern Ink]. In Zhongguo baijia jinling huazhan: zhongwai xuezhe gaofeng luntan lunwen huibian [China Jinling Exhibition Chinese and Foreign Scholars BBS Peak]. Nanjing: Nanjing daxue [Nanjing University], 2011, pp. 17–23

Chattopadhyay, Collette. “Zheng Chongbin: Defining His Own Terrain.” Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art. Vol. 10, no. 4 (July/August 2011): 21–26

DeWolf, Christopher. “The Rebirth of Chinese Ink Painting.” CNNGo.com - May 20, 2011. http://travel.cnn.com/hong-kong/play/rebirth-chinese-ink-painting-043589#ixzz1f4RCFRVI

Godfrey, Tony. “Zheng Chongbin: Ten Metaphors with which to Experience his Paintings.” Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art. Vol. 10, no. 4 (July/August 2011): 27–40

Gu, Jing. “Xuan · Yan” [Xuan, etc.]. Yishu luntan [Art Forum]. July 31, 2011. http://artforum.com.cn/archive/search=%E9%83%91%E9%87%8D%E5%AE%BE/3703

Van Proyen, Mark. “A Tour de Force.” Art in America (June 2011): 197. Scholz, Zachary Royer. “Best exhibition you likely never saw: Zheng Chongbin, White Ink, Chinese Cultural Center of San Francisco, May 19–September 3, 2011.” In “Best Of: Year Two.” Art Practical. August 16, 2011. http://www.artpractical.com/feature/best_of_zachary_royer_scholz/

Straus, Tamara. “Chinese Ink Painter Zheng Goes Full Circle with New Show.” San Francisco Chronicle. May 18, 2011

Van Proyen, Mark. “Thoughts on Recent Abstract Painting.” Squarecylinder.com. October 5, 2011.

Chattopadhyay, Collette, Abby Chen, and Kuiyi Shen. White Ink - 2011

San Francisco: Chinese Culture Foundation of San Francisco, 2011


Agnew, Mary. “Zheng Chongbin’s Black Wall/White Space.” ARTINFO China. February 23, 2012.

Claypool, Lisa. “Architectonic Ink: Zheng Chongbin in Conversation with Lisa Claypool.” Yishu: The Journal of Contemporary Art. Vol. 1, no. 2 (May 2012)

Daswani, Kavita. “King of Ink.” South China Morning Post. August 14, 2012.

Kolesnikov-Jessop, Sonia. “Zheng Chongbin Creates Amorphous Ink Geometries.” Artinfo. October 21, 2012. (http://sea.blouinartinfo.com/visual-arts/article/840050-zheng-chongbin-creates-amorphous-ink-geometries )

Zheng Chongbin. “Adding Perspective.” Pipeline. no. 27 (March 2012): cover, 45, 50.

Kolesnikov-Jessop, Sonia. “Zheng Chongbin Creates Amorphous Ink Geometries.” Artinfo. October 21, 2012.(http://sea.blouinartinfo.com/visual-arts/article/840050-zheng-chongbin-creates-amorphous-ink-geometries )

Chattopadhyay, Collette, Abby Chen, and Kuiyi Shen. China’s Imperial Modern: The Painter’s Craft. 2012

Edmonton: University of Alberta Museums - 2012

London, United Kingdom: Michael Goedhuis Publishing, 2012

Hamburg, Germany: Flo Peters Gallery, 2012

Singapore: Valentine Willie Fine Art, 2012

Agnew, Mary. Zheng Chongbin: Ink Phenomenon – Objects of Perception. 2012

Iola, Lenzi. Zheng Chongbin: Amorphous Geometry, 2012


Crudo, Francesca, et al. Personal Structures: Culture·Mind·Becoming. 2013

Leiden: Global Art Center, 2013.

Johnson, Mark Dean, ed. The Moment for Ink. 2013

San Francisco: San Francisco State University, 2013

Erickson, Britta. producer and director. “Zheng Chongbin's Lines." In The Enduring Passion for Ink: A Project on Contemporary Chinese Ink Painters. 2013

Part of 10-part film series, 16 min., digital, color, sound, 2013.


Erickson, Britta. Zheng Chongbin: Impulse, Matter, Form (Contemporary Chinese Ink) 2014

New York: Distributed Art Publishers, 2014


Moore, Christopher. “Zheng Chongbin—Myth, Matter, Medium.” Randian Magazine. Dec 18, 2015. http://www.randian-online.com/np_feature/zheng-chongbin-myth-matter-medium/

Wilson, Kate. Drawing and Painting: Materials and Techniques for Contemporary Artists. UK: Thames and Hudson. (February 2, 2015): 38–39.

Wilson, Kate. The Artist’s Everything Handbook: a New Guide to Drawing and Painting. USA: Harper Design. (February 17, 2015): 38–39.

Wang, Oliva. “A Spirit in the Dark”. The Wall Street Journal. March 11, 2015

Goedhuis, Michael. Ink: The Art of China - 2015


Beres, Tiffany. “Zheng Chongbin: Boundless Ink.” Art Asia Pacific. Issue 97. March/April 2016.

Kóvskaya, Maya. “Becoming Landscape: Diffractive Unfoldings of Light, Space, and Matter in the New Work of Zheng Chongbin.” Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art. Vol. 14, no. 6, (November/December, 2015): 6-21 Exhibition Catalogues and Monographs. 2016

Sotheby’s Hong Kong Gallery. Structures - 2016
Hong Kong: Sotheby’s, April 2016


Zheng Chongbin: The Classical Origins of Contemporary Abstraction
2017.07.20 Thu, by Randian 燃点


Liquid Space: A Conversation with Zheng Chongbin
Credit to: Yishu Volume 18, Number 5, September/October 2019
by Lisa Claypool


‘Beyond Confinement’: An Interview with Zheng Chongbin The Daily California
Sunday, September 6, 2020. By Blue Fay
Zheng Chongbin, I Look for the Sky
by Abby Chen, Maya Kovsakaya , Jay Xu( Foreword) , The Asian Art Museum


Asiart Archive. Collection Online: Zheng Chongbin. -