I Thought I Saw the Moon

Comprised of five ink paintings – Shanghai 2014, Beijing 2014, Ulumuqi 2014, Xiamen 2014 and Chengdu 2014, I Thought I Saw the Moon is an evolutive installation. Made of rectangular swathes of different shades of ink on paper mounted on silk scrolls, the paintings invite the viewer to experience new modes of representation of Chinese ink painting – also called “shui mo hua” (水墨画). But if the presentation as well as the medium both recall traditional art, I Thought I Saw the Moon yet explores radically different topics and methodologies. Based on data provided by the “Air Quality Index” application for smartphones, the artist has collected information about the different levels of pollution measured in 2014 in various cities in China: Shanghai, Beijing, Ulumuqi, Xiamen and Chengdu. The five shades of ink actually represent the air quality index range – the darker the higher the pollution and the higher its air quality index – whereas the size of the painted area corresponds to the relative proportion of days within a specific range of index during the year. Turning the scientific data into conceptual abstraction, the artwork cynically depicts a new kind of atmospheric landscape, witnessing contemporary society and subtly tackling issues of the impact of economical growth on the environment and on social behavior.