Zhu Wei, ‘乌托邦五十号; Utopia, No. 50’, 2005, Linda Gallery

Series: Utopia (2001 - 2005)

After 2000, many of Zhu Wei’s series became his signature works, and the acclaimed Utopia series was one of them. Utopia depicted big-headed, muscularly built men attending official party conferences. The party members look bored to death, yet they still listen attentively and respectfully, occasionally even using their thick and chunky pens to record whatever that was said. Zhu Wei understands the party members’ predicament, for he too had undergone the same meetings before. He empathizes with the party members’ struggle of keeping one’s concentration during these tedious meetings. There are a few specific details in the Utopia series that are noteworthy: the earrings on one of the delegates of the National People’s Congress denotes his punk style; the banana leaves that seems so full of vitality have worm-eaten holes, a sign of it long past its prime. The large red flag and rostrum embellished with flowers are unavoidable props in a formal assembly. The flower branches and baskets that are inspired from classical album paintings, presents a metaphor of the modern palace, a place of deceit and deception. The speakers on the stage are presenting about the new direction the party is going to embark upon. The audience, listening attentively, with feeble looking faces, are juxtaposed beside the blossoming flowers, creating a perfect contrast between the new and the old, the contemporary and the traditional.

About Zhu Wei