Curated by Lu Hong, the executive director of the Wuhan United Art Museum, this exhibition is also an extended investigation of the “Rendering the Future: Chinese Contemporary Ink Painting Exhibition” featuring works of 18 artists (including Zhu Wei) at the Asia Art Center Beijing exhibition back in 2014.
During the 1980s, the Chinese society underwent a widespread surge in cultural criticism. While many experimental artists’ practices adhered to Political Pop and Cynical Realism movements at the time, Zhu Wei adopted a traditional technique to narrate his memories and experiences of being in the military. In reference to the Preface for this solo exhibition, curator Lu Hong mentioned that Zhu Wei’s meticulous hybridity of traditional and contemporary Chinese art styles is what differentiated him from his Post-1989 counterpart artists: “In Chinese contemporary art scene, Zhu Wei’s painting is indeed a signature one: on the one hand he sticks to the traditional imperial court (gongbi) painting media and outline-and-color technique; on the other hand he boldly moves away from the traditional fine brush painting’s patterns and forms, and created brand new imageries and composition that contain distinct features of the generation.”
This exhibition features Zhu’s works from the last 10 years. The artist’s signature red curtain symbols recent series Curtain and Ink and Wash Research Lectures series showcase his maturity over his deliberate simplicity compared to his earlier works, which were covered in overly rich and vivid elements.
Zhu’s trajectory towards the simplicity in his recent artworks contains a metaphor for an intense atmosphere – the red curtain motif implies an inevitable and collective consciousness that exists in the great Chinese reality. The latest sculptures by the artist “China, China”, in which figures are without any facial features, metaphorically implies the current Chinese survival mode – thousands of these figures, yet they all collectively appear numb and dull. The artist once said: “I paint based on my world, my experience, if you have looked at the streets of Beijing, the newspaper, the television, you will notice that those are the subjects in my paintings.”
From portraying the daily life scenarios to the collective internal state of mind, Zhu Wei would not abandon his examination of contemporary societal issues. He firmly believes that he is able to discover a prototype of contemporary social issues in traditional forms, which forms the fundamental link for his historical-contemporary ideology. In the exhibition, Zhu Wei will also be showing his Album of Vernal Equinox series, displaying vivid red colour dripping down onto the fruits, possibly reflecting the artist’s inner paradise-like desire.
Artist: Zhu Wei
Zhu Wei born in 1966 in Beijing, China, he received education in the People’s Liberation Army Academy of Art, Beijing Film Academy, and Chinese National Academy of Arts. He currently working and living in Beijing, China. His selected solo exhibitions include: Zhu Wei (Asia Art Center, Taipei, 2016), Zhu Wei’s Exhibition 2014 – 2015 (Art Museum of Nanjing University of the Art, Nanjing, 2014) , Zhu Wei (Today Art Museum, Beijing, 2013) , Zhu Wei Solo Exhibition (Singapore Museum of Contemporary Arts, Singapore, 2013). His selected group exhibitions include: CHINA 8 – CONTEMPORARY ART FROM CHINA AT RHINE & RUHR – Tradition Today – Ink Painting and Calligraphy (Kunstmuseum Gelsenkirchen, Germany, 2015), A New Fine Line: Contemporary Ink Painting from China (Metropolitan State University Center for the Visual Arts, Denver, 2015) , The Retrospective Exhibition – A Revisit to Chinese Contemporary Art (Singapore Museum of Contemporary Arts, Singapore, 2015) , Rendering the Future – Chinese Contemporary Ink Painting Exhibition (Asia Art Center, Beijing, 2014) , 1980-2014 Chinese Contemporary Art Research Exhibition (United Art Museum, Wuhan, 2014) , Reshaping Shuimo – The New Conception of History (Jinling Art Museum, Nanjing, 2014) , New Realm of Meticulous Paintings – 2014 New Gongbi Invitation Exhibition (Jiangsu Art Museum, Nanjing, 2014) , Still Water Runs Deep – Six Masters of Chinese Contemporary Meticulous Painting (Shenzhen Art Museum, Shenzhen, 2013) , Beijing – Belgrade (Museum of Yugoslav History, Belgrade, 2013) , China – Eastern Europe: New Sights in Chinese Contemporary Art (Contemporary Art Museum of Macedonia, Skopje, 2013) , Philosophical Interpretations of Painting – Present Expression of Chinese Painting (National Art Museum of China, Beijing, 2013) , RE-INK: Invitational Exhibition of Contemporary Ink and Wash Painting 2000-2012 (Today Art Museum, Beijing, 2013) , ART PARIS (Grand Palais, Paris, 2013) , RE-INK: Invitational Exhibition of Contemporary Ink and Wash Painting 2000-2012 (Hubei Museum of Art, Wuhan, 2012) , The Chinese Scholar: Ink Paintings and Works of Art (Asia Week New York, Fuller Center, New York, 2012) , FACE TO FACE (Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, 2011) , Roundabout (City Gallery Wellington, Wellington, 2010) , Tradition and Transition: Recent Chinese Art from the Collection (Williams College Museum of Art, Massachusetts, 2010) , The Academic Exhibition of Chinese Fine Arts Paintings (Art Gallery of China National Academy of Painting, Beijing, 2009) , Beijing – Havana: New Contemporary Chinese Art Revolution (National Museum of Cuba, Havana, 2009) , Today’s China (Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels, 2008) , Beijing – Athens: Contemporary Art from China (National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, 2008) , Chinese Contemporary Sots Art (The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, 2007) , Chinese Ink Painting Document Exhibition (Nanjing Museum, Nanjing, 2006) , Sights Unseen: Recent Acquisitions (Tateuchi Thematic Gallery of Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, 2006) , Food for Thought (Islip Art Museum, New York, 2004) , Paris – Pékin (Espace Cardin, Paris, 2002), Modern Chinese Paintings from the Reyes Collection (Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, Oxford, 1996).
Curator: Lu Hong
Lu Hong, born in Lichuan County, Jiangxi Province in 1954. He graduated from Hubei Institute of Fine Arts and specializes in Chinese painting and art theory. He is current Executive Director of Wuhan United Art Museum. He worked as Art Director of Shenzhen Art Museum, a member of Chinese Artists’ Association, Master Instructor of Sichuan Fine Arts Institute and Hubei Institute of Fine Arts, Vice President of Shenzhen Artists Association, judge of the Literature and Art Fund of the Shenzhen Municipal Department of Propaganda. His publications include: “A Treatise on Fine Art by Lu Hong” (1998); “The Two Decades of Modern Ink Painting: 1979 – 1999” (2002); “Why Do We Need A Second Shuffle” (2003); “Alienation of the Body – Action Art in China” (With Sun Zhenhua, 2006); “Cross the Border: Pioneer Fine Art in China 1979 – 2004” (2006).