Zheng Chongbin on “I Look for the Sky”


The work of Zheng Chongbin, an American artist born in China and based in the Bay Area for more than three decades, has evolved from traditional figurative ink painting to a multidisciplinary practice encompassing abstract painting, installation, time-based media, and public art. His first solo museum exhibition on the West Coast, Zheng Chongbin: I Look for the Sky consists of two site-specific commissions that manipulate light and space, shifting our perspective of the ever-changing world.

Suspended above Johnson S. Bogart Court at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, I Look for the Sky—the installation which gives this exhibition its title—invites us to reflect upon the museum on an architectural and symbolic level. Using panels of different transparencies to direct natural light, the installation immerses us in an expansive space that encourages discovery and possibility.

“Zheng Chongbin: I Look for the Sky” marks the celebratory launch of the contemporary art department at the Asian Art Museum, following its decades-long effort to engage the artists of our time. In tandem with the Asian Art Museum’s own recent transformation, Zheng Chongbin: I Look for the Sky reimagines the museum in spatial and conceptual terms, creating new encounters through the integration of artistic process and site.

Artist Biography: Zheng Chongbin (American, b. China, 1961) has lived and worked as an artist in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1988. Throughout his practice, Zheng aims to convey and capture the vitality of matter. In his abstract paintings, he works to demonstrate (rather than illustrate) processes found in nature, through the organic interactions of ink, acrylic, paper, and light. In his videos and installations, Zheng explores the structures that comprise the world—from cellular systems to solar systems—and the way that order emerges from within our inherently chaotic existence. Zheng studied classical ink painting at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, as well as conceptual and performance art at the San Francisco Art Institute.

Cite this page as: Asian Art Museum, "Zheng Chongbin on “I Look for the Sky”," in Smarthistory, March 19, 2021, accessed October 17, 2021, https://smarthistory.org/zheng-chongbin-on-i-look-for-the-sky/.