Peking Kunst

Interview with Zong Ning

Zong Ning is a Mongolian ethnic artist who adheres to the laws of nature and lives in harmony with water and grass. His works reflect his way of life and art is his embodiment in the world.
Zong Ning, 2021, three artists, 180cm x 105cm
Zong Ning, 2021, three artists, 180cm x 105 cm, Edition 1/6

How do you feel today? What have you already done today?
If the „today“ mentioned in the question refers to the present day in a literal sense, then I’m not feeling very well today (May 1, 2023). I have signed a contract with a new studio due to various real-life issues, but this studio is not meeting my expectations. However, I have no other choice, and in the coming period, I will do my best to make it work.

What is your artistic background? What has influenced your work?
My father should be considered my artistic mentor. He didn’t have formal training but had been a young intellectual during his childhood. I have vivid memories of him lying on the school union’s billiard table, painting scenes of billiard balls and other grand creations. Starting from imitating him, I gradually embarked on the path of becoming a professional artist.

Zong Ning, Rouge Tigers, Canson Infinity Rag Photographique, 140 x1 80cm
Zong Ning // Rouge Tigers, 180 x 140 cm, Canson Infinity Rag Photographique, Edition 1/6

Could you explain the role of Daoist and Buddhist philosophy in your artistic practice?
I am not a Taoist or Buddhist, but they have influenced me through what I have heard and seen. Knowledge, culture, stories, and works of film and television related to Taoism and Buddhism have accompanied me as I grew up. In my perspective, Taoism and Buddhism convey the idea of the coexistence of nature and humanity. This concept resonates with the Mongolian belief in „Changshengtian“ (tngri, some are self-created, a special status, though in later texts some of those tngri were said to have been created by Buddha, a possible influence of Buddhism on Mongolian folk religion. Wikipedia). As I grow older, I become more convinced that I need to use my life and art to provide some evidence for this principle.

How would you describe the „beautiful, rich world“ today?
I don’t find the present world beautiful, and I don’t believe it is wealthy either. On the contrary, I find this world to be ugly and impoverished. The only beauty I perceive is in the relationships of love and friendship, which are unrelated to wealth.

Zong Ning, Enter the Mural, 2016, 150 x 180cm Cancon Infinity Rag Photographique

Zong Ning, Enter the Mural, 2016, 150 x 180 cm, Cancon Infinity Rag Photographique, Edition 1/6

What do you feel while you work?
Do you usually think about the final outcome beforehand? The creative process is a labour for me, a labour that makes me feel like I’m interacting with space and time. The output will be considered because it is the guarantee of the next steps of the labour.

What does everyone need to know about Mongolia? What do you think is special about your home country?
I hope everyone can go and see the landscapes of Mongolia, listen to their music, and drink with Mongolian people. After doing these three things, you can say that you understand Mongolian culture. I don’t fully grasp the meaning of our homeland; it is a vast concept, and its unique aspects are best evaluated by history. What I do know is that my ancestors, mother, and family are of utmost importance to me. I want to pass on the messages they have conveyed to me to my children.

What are your goals and expectations for the future?
I want to live a long life and interact with this ever-changing world by creating more work.

Zong Ning –宗宁