Photo by GAN Qi  攝影 甘琦

Bei Dao

Bei Dao, whose original name is Zhao Zhenkai, was born in Beijing in 1949.  In 1978, he founded the literary magazine Jintian (lit.: ‘Today’) with friends in Beijing. Since 1987, he has been teaching in many universities in Europe, America, and Hong Kong.  His work has been translated into 30 languages.  He is the Honorary Doctorate at Brown University, Honorary Professor of the Faculty of Art at The Chinese University of Hong Kong.  Bei Dao was awarded the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award, the Swedish PEN Literature Prize, the American Guggenheim Prize, and the highest honour of Golden Wreath Prize of the Macedonian Struga International Poetry Festival.  He is an Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  In 2009, Bei Dao founded the International Poetry Nights in Hong Kong, currently the most influential international poetry festival in Asia.  He created the Hong Kong Poetry Festival Foundation in 2018.


原名趙振開,1949年生於北京,1978年和朋友在北京創辦文學雜誌《今天》。自1987年起,在歐美及香港多所大學教書或任駐校作家,其作品被譯成30種文字,曾獲瑞典筆會文學獎,美國古根漢獎,馬其頓斯特魯加國際詩歌節最高榮譽金花環獎等,獲選美國藝術文學院終身榮譽院士。2009年創辦亞洲最具影響力的國際詩歌活動 — 香港國際詩歌之夜,2018年創辦香港詩歌節基金會。


About The Paintings

The primary element of my poetry is, of course, metaphor, yet despite the differences, the medium of writing is in fact quite close to ink points, and at times they are difficult to distinguish from each other. In a sense, ink points are always lurking behind writing, present yet nameless. And in poetry there is another stream, in which all of poetry’s elements point toward the mysteries. (Excerpt) 

The Ink Point’s Revelations, Bei Dao  

Later I discovered that his paintings need to be viewed flat on a horizontal surface, so that they can be read point by point. It looks like a page, but hang that page on a wall as a painting and what you notice are the variations in its formatting and paragraphs, the variations in its moisture. The effect of the ink welling in the creases of the paper, though, each unique, or where the reader or conjecturer begins in this field of points, or the relations of succession they endeavor, or that at this point the composer must have been upset by something, and that at that point he came back after a long absence… these details are hard to spot from the wall, yet give us endless space for fantasy and delight in conjecture. A bit like reading the poem above, an interlaced viewing space that belongs to nowhere. (Excerpt) 

Bei Dao’s “Points”, XU Bing  


我的詩歌元素尤其是隱喻,與墨點非常接近,但媒介不同,往往難以互相辨認。在某種意義上,墨點遠在文字以前,尚未命名而已。而詩歌有另一條河流,所有的詩歌元素共同指向神秘。 (節錄)

北島 《墨點的啟示》

我後來終於發現,這張畫是需要平放在書桌上看的,一個點一個點讀的。其實它更像一張書頁,但把書頁掛起來當圖看,看到的更多是版式、段落圖形的變化,難免單調。放在桌上當字讀,其中的每個“點”型的變化,墨色的變化,輕重的變化,水份的變化……,這些水帶著墨色在紙質的縫隙中停留的微妙結果,每一個都是不同的;讀著、推測著這一片點是從哪裡開始的;它們生成的先後關係;作者點到這裡可能心緒有點煩亂;這幾處,點點兒的人可能離開了好長時間… …。這些掛在牆上不易被看到的信息,給人無限的猜測的樂趣和幻想的空間。有點像讀上面那首短詩,交錯出一個哪都不屬於的觀看空間。 (節錄)

 徐冰 《北島的 “點” 》