Instructions :

Then I assigned several components of Chinese characters to each category, to decide how many parts of this character. The in “UP UP” category, the characters will have 3 parts, with components having x,y,z number of strokes. in (0,0), z is 1, (0,1)z is 2, (1,0) z is 3, (1,1)z is 4. In “Mid -” categories, the characters have 2 parts, by components having x,y number of strokes. In “DOWN DOWN” category, the characters are independent, made by x times component having 1 stroke and y times another component having 1 stroke. I set the order of the original matrix (0,0) as:

red (16): 123456 654321 1352

orange(20): 123 132 213 231 312 321 12

yellow(7): 1234 432

green(8): 12 21 12 21


Because the (0,1) graphic is made by (0,0) folding horizontally, so I reverse each number

red(16): 654321 123456 6425

orange(20): 321 312 231 213 132 123 32

yellow(7): 4321 123

green(8): 21 12 21 12


(1,0) is made by (0,0) folding vertically, so I made the whole sequence fold vertically:

red(16): 2531 123456 654321

orange(20): 21 123 213 132 312 231 123

yellow(7): 234 4321

green(8): 12 21 12 21


(1,1) is made by(0,1)folding vertically, so I made the whole sequence fold vertically:

red(16):5246 654321 123456

orange(20):23 321 231 312 132 213 123

yellow(7): 321 1234

green(8): 21 12 21 12







Serial Calligraphy is a 2x2 matrix of Chinese calligraphy work, 65cm x 65cm in size. Written on Chinese art paper with ink.

All the characters are fake Chinese characters reconstructed by Kangxi radicals based on the 16 basic Chinese character’s structures following the rules I made referred to some methods in math and “Bagua”. (details below).

Nowadays’ handwriting is totally different with calligraphy, compared with the ancient time. With the technology increasingly developed, computer typing is replacing handwriting, making the nature of calligraphy from functional to aesthetic. So I give up the function of Chinese characters, just to reveal the beauty of its structure.

Deep structure:


  • The way of writing in Calligraphy

In Chinese calligraphy, the order of writing is from right to left and write vertically, so the first character starts at the right top corner and then write the following below. I gave each character a coordinate to mark the location on the whole canvas, which will be shown by the number of strokes the Chinese character components have. (it starts with 1 because no 0 stroke component can be written)


  • The Components of Chinese characters

There are over 200 components of Chinese characters, like the smallest unit to form a character and there are 16 most common ways to construct each character (It can combine 2 parts, 3 parts, or just itself independently)

Originally, I let the coordinate to decide which components to be used. For example, if the character locates in (x1,y1), the character will be constructed by a component with x1 number of strokes and a component of y1 number of strokes. But just two parts can’t show all those forms, so there is a Z-axis to be introduced.


  • Z-axis: The Bagua

The Bagua or Pa Kua are eight trigrams used in Taoist cosmology to represent the fundamental principles of reality, seen as a range of eight interrelated concepts. Each consists of three lines, each line either "broken" or "unbroken," respectively representing yin or yang.(Wikipedia)


In China, Bagua shows the principle of everything, the superficial graphics contain the “number” (数shù) inside. The meaning of  “number” here is similar to “principle” or  “plan”, Chinese words “心中有数” is “you have numbers inside your heart”, means you know it well. the “number” can also be interpreted as the binary number shown below. We can use 0 to represent yin and 1 to represent yang. so there are 8 combinations of it - Bagua (Ba means eight), and it developed into a more complex form called hexagrams which are made by 6 lines( yin or yang).Hexagrams are formed by combining the original eight trigrams in different combinations.


The hexagram lines are traditionally counted from the bottom up, so the lowest line is considered line one while the top line is line six.

so to write the number of it is like this : (in decimal, they are 22 and 40)


In Bagua theory, combining the “number” and the graphic together, you can get the consistent natural rules, and in this work, the Chinese calligraphy is also a combination of graphic and “number”, so the  z-axis(Bagua-axis) is like a “cultural axis” which is an important part of my work. Each hexagram has different meaning and represents different principles, conditions, matters or natural rules. The graphics of each hexagram is the original signs to show the meaning, and in <I Ching> it has been described specifically. The phenomenon each hexagram shows may be good or bad, <I Ching > classified them into five categories: the best, the second best, the medium, the second worst, the worst. Actually, there’s no best or worst in <I Ching>, because the author thinks every cloud has a silver lining. So I just right the most direct translation of each category.


The 64 hexagram image will look like this:

Step one:

The work is a 2x2 matrix, I let the original 64 hexagram image to be in the position (0,0).

And then I set the rules for the x,y-axis in the 64 hexagram images:

        x: Form 天 to 地 is 0, from 地 to 天 is 1

        y: From 地 to 天 is 0, from 天 to 地 is 1

          ( according to (0,0) matrix)

then I can have all x,y-axis in that four matrix.  Because the hexagram is a combination of the trigram( x-axis’s graphic at the top and y-axis’s graphic below), so I can draw all matrix.

Step two:

Step three:

Then I based on these matrix and the list of components to reconstruct each character.

Some components can only be placed in certain place because of some special structures so I first choose those who can fit the structure, then refer to the list one by one to make sure every component has 1~8 strokes has been used.






There are several contemporary Chinese artists work on calligraphy .

1. Xu Bing "A book from the sky", "Art of the people"

2. Gu Wenda "United Nations"

3. Sol LeWitt "Variations of Incomplete Open Cubes"