Beijing, China (1974), lives and works in Hong Kong

Pteridophilia 2  2018

video 4K, 20’36”

Courtesy of the artist and Edouard Malingue Gallery


[Pseudocopulation]  2010

digital video, 5’17’’


Fern as Method  2021

ferns, paper, pencil

Courtesy of the artist and Edouard Malingue Gallery

Through works ranging across video, performance, sculpture and workshops, Zheng Bo investigates new forms of intimacy with and attention to the natural world. Pteridophilia 2 is part of an ongoing series of videos initiated in 2016 in which the artist imagines new queer relationships between plants and people. The work shows a man sexually engaging with and eating a bird’s nest fern​ (Asplenium nidus), as a commentary on the social normativity that may regard this fern as a gourmet food, as is the case in Taiwan, yet label unnatural any sexual encounter with plants. The installation of Zheng Bo  enters into dialogue with a two millennia old fresco from Pompeii representing an erotic encounter between Pan and Hermaphrodite and found footage of pseudocopulation between insects and plants. This constellation of elements suggests that forms of interspecies sexuality are widespread in longstanding cultural traditions as well as in ecological relations. Fern as Method completes the installation with a participatory work in which the artist invites connection with plants through the meditative practice of drawing. Once completed, the drawings will be kept and used to fertilize the ferns, thus completing the life cycle of the work. The title Fern as Method references Wang Yangming, a Ming dynasty thinker who, in following his path to enlightenment, cultivated the practice of gewu zhizhi, which translates into ‘to obtain knowledge by investigating the nature of things’. Another video work from the Pteridophilia series is currently on view at TARSIA, a Neapolitan art project space and flower shop located on Via Tarsia 52.