The installations of Zong Ning (b. 1984, Mongolia; lives and works in Beijing, China) combine painting, photography, and found objects, and in many cases performances, too. His works draw on Chinese culture yet also make reference to western influences. Zong Ning’s works often present conceptual pairs considered opposites by western culture, such as exterior and interior, micro and macro, chaos and order, or life and death; however, in Chinese culture, which regards Yin and Yang as inextricable parts of all things, they are seen as complementary opposites. According to this outlook, nothing is absolute, perfect or pure, and all is in constant flux. As it says in the Tao Te Ching, “One thing seems long by comparison with that which is, comparatively, short. One thing is high because another thing is low,”1 and “stillness in movement is the way of the Tao.”2 Such thinking finds diverse expressions in the artist’s work: he depicts wild exterior landscapes within the museum’s interior; attaches to huge paintings small-scale photos of them, a tangible demonstration of the belief that local, seemingly banal events resonate in the universe’s grandest events and vice versa; and the pond water which is part of the installation, symbolizing life and renewal, is set among images rendered in a dark palette conveying gloom and despair. Zong Ning accentuates the traditional Chinese outlook in order to offer scathing criticism of modern Chinese society and of the ways by which it deals with issues such as moving away from family values, class differences, contempt for human life, materialistic aspirations and a growing distance from nature. As he explained in a conversation with me, he uses harsh imagery to prod awake the viewer who is part of a materialistic society that neither seeks nor appreciates truths. “People only see what they are comfortable with,” he says. He uses a monochromatic palette and unprocessed raw materials to express his objection to seductive commercial art which, he says, “is not made with the heart.” Contrary to such art, his work aspires to simplicity that does not entice the viewer but rather reflects spiritual values like truth-seeking. Zong Ning quotes his father, who lived through the Cultural Revolution in China in the 1960s and 1970s, who said to him, “Only scientists and artists are capable of telling the truth.” He has always cherished this assertion. The logs scattered across the gallery are an expression of this outlook. They are a Buddhist symbol of natural, unprocessed elements as containing the potential to be anything, contrary to processed wood (a table, for instance), which no longer holds such potential and is therefore closer to death. In Taoism, the wise person is often likened to an unprocessed log of wood, a brook of water, an insane person or a fool, all of which are regarded as close to the source of all things.