Pencil Walker
Wooden board (244 x 976 cm), pencils, pencil sharpener, black duct tapes, audio tapes, Hi8 and Digital video cassette, extension cord, photographs, video, and document.
244 x 976 x 1.4 cm; 48.3 x 32.9 cm; 18′ 01″; 47 x 66.5 cm x 30 pieces

The Pencil Walker was created in a series of personal repentance ceremonies and aims to transcend beyond our incompetence facing the wheel of Samsara, which the Pen Walking series conveys.

In the ceremony, a pencil sharpener, tape recorder and microphone are taped on the walker’s both arms and his mouth. The walker switch on both camcorder and tape recorder,  sharpen the pencil and walks back and forth repetitively in front of a white wall while drawing lines with a pencil in hand.
The ceremony starts with the walker’s reciting the Repentance Verse of Avatamsaka Sutra, “All the nonvirtues generated in the past arose from beginningless greed, anger and ignorance through my body, speech, and mind. I now repent them all.” ¹ As the walker leaves a trail of pencil strokes on the wall, he keeps reciting various Buddhism mantras, the Heart Sutra, or the name of different Buddhas and bodhisattvas. In every ceremony, the cycle of sharpening pencils, drawing lines, and recitation repeats itself for two hours and fifteen minutes.

To ensure a sufficient density of lines, the artist focuses on drawing lines in one of the six sections of different heights on the wall each time. The six sections are respectively as high as the six sections of the artist’s body: above the head, head to shoulders, shoulders to chest, chest to waist, waist to knees, and below the knees. The artist has to complete all the six sections in order to cover the whole wall. After 20 years and 60 walks, the work is completed with the wall covered in 10 layers of pencil-drawn lines.

Implied in Pen Walking series and Pencil Walker are the analogy of pen as the wheel of Samsara and the shaded, black-looking wall that started with spotlessly white the sum of ill karma that has been accumulated from lifetime to lifetime.

1- The words originated from The Pracitce and Vows of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva, The Avatamsaka Sutra.