Constructed of light and found objects, the work of Wang Lingjie and Hao Jingfang is at once of time and timeless, infinite yet infinitesimal. They offer a tiny glimpse of a higher consciousness, a wisdom that surpasses our constraint of time and space. At once logical and poetic, their works radiate an innate peacefulness. A result perhaps, of a complex and lengthy creation process that involves endless discussions, deliberations, and decisions.
Otherworldliness belies their work. Walking into Below Above / Beyond Beneath, their contribution to the 2016 Shanghai West Bund Art & Design fair, visitors encountered a pitch-black space with nothing but two horizontal beams of light that crosses a mist-filled space. Consciously, it’s apparent that it is a room, yet it is also somehow elsewhere. Upon making it to the opposite side and turning around, outlines of other visitors would emerge from the mist, almost as if they were arriving from another dimension.
This tension between this world and another is found in an ascetic, minimalist form. In their works, blacks and whites dominate, a choice made explicitly by Wang, says Hao. Stripped back to essentials, their art echoes a Taoist duality, akin to “a kind of philosophy,” says Wang. Yet, far from simple, their works are the result of their daily travail, of countless trials and failures, of a sometimes painful, yet constant dialogue with their work in progress.
Discipline and dedication rule their approach to creation. Sun Drawing, a series of daily marks left by the sun on heat-sensitive paper, is a past piece of work that characterises their signature approach; it’s revealing their ongoing fascination with the passage of time, as well as light, as they continuously attempt to capture their ephemeral essence.
It is surprising then that the works themselves are not sterile but filled with lightness and vitality, maybe because they are the reflection of the artists themselves. So that when the works are experienced, they inadvertently express their creators’ curiosity about the world, as well as the joy and wonder of the creation process.
Never loud, showy or pretentious, their works are quiet, unobtrusive, yet singular in their view. For Wang Lingjie and Hao Jingfang, to make art is to be true to oneself, as Hao sums it up, “I wanted to do something for myself… to find my own inner peace.”