Title: Moon

Artists: Lily & Honglei Art Studio (Xiying Yang, Honglei Li, He Li)

Year of production: 2015

Duration: 8’00”

Medium: Chinese ink painting on rice paper, video

A video excerpt is viewable at http://youtu.be/P9mf3GozppE

Moon (synopsis)

In the video Moon, the lunar phases are looked upon through a poetic lens. In Far Eastern culture, such phases symbolize the elusiveness of fate as well as both the separation and reunion of loved ones. By setting original ink painting works in motion, Moon presents a natural phenomenon in a manner that unveils an introspective human world – an approach is profoundly inspired by traditional Chinese poetry and art. A reflection upon humanity, conflict, loss, and hope is drawn through space and time as a dreamscape of inner emotions merged with the natural world. The film is comprised of a series of Chinese ink paintings on rice paper and could be projected on a variety of different surfaces such as a solid wall or a still pond of water. Both indoors and outdoors environments are fit within the scale of this project. (2016 © Lily & Honglei Art Studio. All rights reserved. )

new media art, video art by Lily & Honglei, He Li, new media art in China, Chinese contemporary artist

Moon still 1, Chinese ink painting on rice paper, 24x36in. by Lily & Honglei. 2012


A Flowery Moonlit Night on a Spring River (by Zhang Ruoxu, Tang Dynasty in China)

(Translation source: http://www.joyen.net/article/listen/2/201103/3975.html)

‘In spring the river rises as high as the sea,
And with the river’s rise the moon up-rises bright.
She follows the rolling waves for ten thousand li,
And where the river flows, there overflows her light.

‘The river winds around the fragrant islet where
The blooming flowers in her light all look like snow.
You cannot tell her beams from hoar frost in the air,
Nor from white sand upon Farewell Beach below.

‘No dust has stained the water blending with the skies;
A lonely wheel-like moon shines brilliant far and wide.
Who by the riverside first saw the moon arise?
When did the moon first see a man by riverside?

new media art, video art, ink painting by Lily & Honglei, Lily & Honglei Art Studio, He Li, new media art in China, Chinese new media artist, Lily & Honglei Art Studio, contemporary art, He Li

Moon still 2, Chinese ink painting on rice paper, 24x36in, by Lily & Honglei, 2012.

‘Ah, generations have come and past away;
From year to year the moon looks alike, old and new.
We do not know tonight for whom she sheds her ray,
But hear the river say to its water adieu

‘Away, away is sailing a single cloud white;
On Farewell Beach pine away maples green.
Where is the wanderer sailing his boat tonight?
Who, pining away, on the moonlit rails would learn?

‘Alas! The moon is lingering over the tower;
It should have seen the dressing table of the fair.
She rolls the curtain up and light comes in her bower;
She washes but can’t wash away the moonbeams there.

Lily & Honglei Art Studio, Chinese new media artist, new media artist New York, He Li, contemporary Chinese art

Still of “Moon,” Chinese ink painting on rice paper, video. Lily & Honglei Art Studio. 2012-13

He Li, contemporary art, Chinese new media artist, video art, Lily & Honglei art studio

‘She sees the moon, but her beloved is out of sight;
She’d follow it to shine on her beloved one’s face.
But message-bearing swans can’t fly out of moonlight,
Nor can letter-sending fish leap out of their place.

Last night he dreamed that falling flowers would not stay.
Alas! He can’t go home, although half spring has gone.
The running water bearing spring will pass away;
The moon declining over the pool will sink anon

The moon declining sinks into a heavy mist;
It’s a long way between southern rivers and eastern seas.
How many can go home by moonlight who are missed?
The sinking moon sheds yearning o’er riverside trees.’

Lily & Honglei Art Studio, new media art in China, contemporart Chinese artist, new media artist, He Li, video art

Lily & Honglei, Chinese contemporary artist, new media art in China, He Li, new media art new york, video art

Still of “Moon,” Chinese ink painting on rice paper, video. Lily & Honglei Art Studio. 2012-13




Since the years spent separately in Germany and China in the ’90s, we have been pondering on producing a contemporary piece based on Chinese poetry and ink painting traditions. Although many compositions were sketched around this idea, the complete piece had not been fully planned out until a discussion occurred in 2012 with curator Heng-Gil Han, who was then proposing a series of international exhibitions focusing on unification of Korea with his ambitious curatorial concept.  Fitting the exhibition theme, video piece ‘Moon,’ inspired by Chinese shanshu (mountain-and-river) paintings and poems such as A Flowery Moonlit Night on a Spring River by Zhang Ruoxu, and Shui diao ge touMoon by Su Dongpo, was finally materialized.

Oakland Gardens & Alley Pond in New York, where we stroll on  hilly forest paths discussing ‘Moon’-

Lily & Honglei Art Studio, He Li, video art

our daily walking route by Oakland Lake, where we discuss new work…



Lily & Honglei Art Studio

Alley Pond, outside the art studio in New York


Moon is commissioned by Korean Art Forum and will be presented at Common Ground exhibition in UK in 2014, curated by Heng-Gil Han.


Lily & Honglei’s new animated film The Peony Pavilion, and part of the ongoing project, The Garden Windows: April and May, will be showcased at the Painting Center, fall 2011. Their work is rooted in eastern aesthetic traditions, and conveys deep concerns for humanity in current China’s society.

From Jamaica to ChinaA New Evolution,

curated by Bryan McFarlane

September 6 – October 1, 2011

Opening Reception: September 8th. 2011

The Painting Center

547 West 27th Street, NY 10001

exhibition post card front

Exhibition Postcard Back

An collaborative Augmented Reality project based on our paintings may be included in this show too.

Animated short film ‘The Window – May’:

‘The Window – April’

New animated film inspired by traditional Chinese kunqu Opera, The Peony Pavilion will be premiered as well:

Peony Pavilion from lilyhonglei on Vimeo.

The China Boom Project: Actually, we are very confused. Maybe a lot of people are extremely bullish on China’s future, but I would say that, personally, I am extremely confused. What will happen going forward is, to a large extent, not going to be decided by economics, neither will it be determined by the global environment, it is really in the hands of the Chinese people, even in the hands of a small number of politicians. And what will happen in the next 30 years is probably going to be determined by the political situation in China in the next ten years. Because we haven’t talked about the political developments of the past 30 years, for example, I think that Hu Jintao’s succeeding Jiang Zemin was a very big political development. While it involved a lot of competition and power struggle, in comparison to every other power struggle in modern Chinese history, this one has actually brought great benefits. At least on the surface, the transfer of power has been very smooth. But, going forward, how is it going to be? To what extent can they further China’s economic and political reform? What system of checks and balances will the next generation of leaders have between themselves so that when they encounter difficulties they won’t be walking too far ahead or too far behind? Because we all believe that China is currently walking a tightrope. Whether they move to the left or the right, there is a possibility of falling off. I think the key point is whether the government of the next ten years, or 30 years, will be able to keep this balance well. Currently, a lot of people are optimistic about this because the leaders-to-be already seem to have a basic structure. But is this the way that it will be? Because history is too complicated and the tightrope is too narrow, it is extremely hard to keep the balance. So, personally, I don’t dare have any particularly optimistic or pessimistic view.

"New Ink Painting Generation," Shanghai University 99 Art Space

Lily & Honglei: New Ink Painting Generation

The exhibition space at 99 Creative Center

Official report on the exhibition in Shanghai: http://www.cnarts.net/cweb/info/read.asp?id=1193&kind=画廊

Concurrent with Shanghai World Expo, Shanghai University is launching New Ink Painting Generation I at 99 Art Space. We’re glad that our new animation project The Peony will be on view in this exhibition.

The Peony continues our practice integrating Chinese cultural and aesthetic traditions with new media expressions. Ambient sound, 3-D space, time duration and subtle motions are deployed to make a static brush painting alive. The infinite loop of the animation constructs a space for rethinking Chinese painting’s cultural and artistic values that remain largely underestimated.

As a medium, agent and concept, Chinese ink painting functions to unveil contemporary issues. New Ink Painting Generation discusses the future and reflects the recent developments of contemporary Chinese ink painting.’ Ma Lin, the curator and chair of Department of Art History of Shanghai University, said.

Peony: animation still. by Lily & Honglei

The animation excerpt is viewable at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mh8tN8PLuDs

More information about the exhibition at: