With/ Out Shape (2011)

With/ Out Shape

Bamboo yarn, timber screws, Sketch-A-Graph, image reproduction
Approx. 6.5 x 2m
Image source: Tong Yang-tze, Perfect form is without shape, 2006, ink on paper
Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne

With/Out Shape (2011) is a wall-based drawing that deconstructs Tong Yang-tze’s Chinese calligraphic work Perfect form is without Shape (2006, ink on paper, 180 x 776 cm). In viewing Perfect form is without Shape from left to right, the cursive script moves between dramatic and subtle tonal variation articulated in heavy wet ink strokes and fluid dry strokes.

In ‘reading’ Tong Yang-tze large-scale calligraphic work, I understood that she had composed the script in a way that renders the text with the weight of her interpretation. As I understood it, to arrive at the idea of a perfect form one has to render the process formless.

Working in-situ in the gallery, With/Out Shape is executed using hundreds of meters of bamboo yarn as the graphic medium. The spatial composition is constructed from left to right, mirroring Tong Yang-tze’s work backwards. It renders the reproduction of the Chinese text and its poetic meaning secondary to the performative gesture of the in-situ methodology. Incorporating the Sketch-A- Graph drawing tool and the image reproduction of Tong Yang-tze’s Perfect form is without Shape allegorises the relationship between image making and interpretation.

© Mimi Tong 2023