Zhu Wei is the first Chinese contemporary artist to bring the traditional painting method into the contemporary art world. The exhibition documents the interests of Zhu Wei between 1987 and present, reflecting the interests and development of his thoughts through his works.
Peering into the almanac of contemporary Chinese painters, it is not difficult to see how Zhu Wei stands out from the rest. Zhu Wei chose to convey his thoughts on contemporary society in a traditional artistic language, reinvigorating the traditions of gongbi painting and in turn, the way contemporary art market perceives Chinese ink paintings. Wielding it as a tool, Zhu Wei reflects modern society, politics and most importantly, humanity in his works in often witty, cynical and sometime critical eye.
As the celebrated curator Lu Hong once described in his studies on Zhu Wei’s work, Zhu Wei remains the only artist in time immemorial that has managed to combine the Song-dynasty painting technique with contemporary sensibility, in a way, making a mark on history with each painting created. Moving beyond mere fabled symbolism and iconography, Zhu Wei’s works exemplified deep introspection and internalisation of his subjects – as with Song Dynasty gongbi painters that came before him, presenting his subjects with deep intrinsic emotions that are delicate and subtle.
Even as Zhu Wei paves the way for newer artists to adopt ink into contemporary works, none has ever surpassed the level of depth and excellence in their visual communication: Zhu Wei still remains as the most important contemporary Chinese artist of our time and one who is making history in the development of the Chinese art tradition.