“Experiencing the world is a cognitive journey.” — Zheng Chongbin
How do artists think about space? That question animates a new two-part exhibition by Marin County–based artist Zheng Chongbin (b. 1961). In dialogue with the museum’s transformation project, I Look for the Sky explores how the manipulation of light can profoundly change our perception of architectural space.
As an artist trained in classical Chinese figurative painting at the China Academy of Art who went on to study performance, installation, and conceptual art at the San Francisco Art Institute, Zheng brings a singular approach to contemporary art.
His installation in Osher Gallery, State of Oscillation – comprising ink paintings, videos, and a chamber made of translucent material – heightens our awareness of our bodies moving through space. Navigating through an ephemeral chamber suffused with overlapping projected video imagery, we catch glimpses of Zheng’s paintings and other works mounted on the perimeter wall. State of Oscillation manipulates our perceptions of presence and absence, solid and void, immersion and circulation.
In Bogart Court, panels that vary in transparency and pattern are suspended below skylights, directing the flow of natural light and manipulating visual sightlines to create a novel spatial experience. For this installation, I Look for the Sky (which lends its name to the exhibition), Zheng was interested in engaging with ideas of transparency and the free flow of light that architect Gae Aulenti emphasized in her 2003 renovation of the museum building that once served as the city’s Main Library. Zheng’s exploration of transparency and light as mediums is also influenced by the Southern California Light and Space artists of the 1960s and 1970s.
I Look for the Sky invites you to bring a new awareness to your environment.
Image: Installation view of I Look for the Sky, Asian Art Museum. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.