Above are the business cards Studio Z Mendocino just completed for Zheng Chongbin. They consist of two pieces of 2-ply museum matte board, his name, in English and Chinese, blind debossed on the white side, and his contact information foil stamped in white opaque foil on the black side. The two thick papers were laminated together with a slip of bright orange cover stock between them. The little ‘sandwich’ shows the most subtle and startling dash of color along the edges of the cards. Zheng uses only black and white in his work, so the daring, bright orange slice is a nod to, perhaps, the incendiary creativity he brings to each of his paintings and enormous installations.
“Zheng Chongbin’s artworks bridge the modernist concerns with the spiritual in abstraction and the post-modern deconstruction of light and space perception with a Taoist phenomenology of energy, material and “resonance” or qiyun. His practice encompasses biomorphic ink painting, abstract painting using traditional ink and acrylic on paper, large-scale ink installations, and video installation art. Positioning Zheng’s practice in a trans-national context, his work “simultaneously deconstructs the language of ink painting and plumbs the philosophical and practical depths of Western modernism.” from www.zhengchongbin.com.
Zheng came to me through the recommendation of my great friend Michael Lerner. (Thank you, Michael!) He wanted some very special business cards to carry to his several upcoming shows in Berlin, at the Venice Biennale 2015, and in Beijing.
The installation above is describe on his website: ‘This work presents the story of this actual site, drawn from memories, which link to the history of Shanghai. The installation uses rice to represent the landscape that resonates with this space and the narrative of its rising, glory, and deterioration in the past. Black and white are often symbolic of Hei Dao (“underworld”) and Bai Dao (“legal world”).”‘
The cards we designed together merge utter simplicity with gorgeous materials. It was a complete pleasure to collaborate with Zheng, to find that spot where both of our minds and eyes and instincts engaged with the intention and produced something ephemeral and beautiful and useful.