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Preface I

- - for "Virtual Focus: Zhu Wei 1987-2017" at the National Museum of Indonesia

Drs. Siswanto, M.A


For the past 30 years, Zhu Wei has successfully created many series of excellent contemporary art works that deal with issues within the field of humanity. For the highlight of this exhibition, we present to you Zhu Wei, one of the few Chinese artists who has brought forth classical Chinese painting techniques into the contemporary art world, achieving success in the midst of a global fascination with Chinese contemporary art.

In the book Contemporary Chinese Ink 1979 – 1999, published by the China Social Science Press, and in History of Contemporary Chinese Art 1978 – 2008, published by Hebei Fine Arts Publishing House, renowned Chinese art historian and critic Lu Hong pointed out that, "The wisdom of Zhu Wei's works lies in showing us that when one is pursuing a contemporary expression, the most important thing is to retain the means of a traditional rendition, to produce innovative results. It is especially crucial to retain a point of uniqueness in one's artistic output in this time, when the development of contemporary art is under the threat of homogenization. Over the course of art history, even the most creative artist has had to peruse artistic tradition as inspiration for their work at some phrase of their career. Using methods to distance or through means of restructuring, the artist arrives at a new expression. Other than that, there is no other way for artistic breakthroughs."

Zhu Wei was born in 1966, in the western suburbs of Beijing's steel plant dormitory area, where he spent a quiet and peaceful childhood. In 1982, he was transcribed into the army, where he began his artistic career. Between the late nineties and in the first years of the new century, Zhu Wei started to gain a name for himself. More than 40 international museums have collected over 70 art works by the artist, who is deemed as the representative figure of contemporary ink art. Not only is he the first artist to bring the Gong-bi technique into the contemporary art world, he is also one of the earliest artist to reflect China's social history in his work. From 2003, he abruptly restricted the number of art works he produced. For a few years, including the year 2015, he only produced a single art work each year. In these 10 years, Zhu Wei produced many essays and treatises on art, in turn analysing the problems he faced as an artist, and the current state of China's contemporary art scene, which are compiled into a publication. The book he authored in 2014 occupied the top spot in popular art websites for 4 years.

At this point, Zhu Wei has begun a new phase of artistic pursuits, which he terms as 'experimentation', where he seeks for a new expression.

This touring exhibition has been exhibited at Museum of Contemporary Art Singapore (MOCA@Loewen), Beijing Today Art Museum as well as Nanjing Art Academy Museum. The curator of the exhibition in Beijing today Art museum and Nanjing Art Academy museum was Mr Zhu Zhu and Mr Li Xiao Shan respectively. Mr Lu Hong is the curator specially appointed for the shows in the Museum of Contemporary Art Singapore and National Museum of Indonesia, Jakarta. We would like to express our most sincere gratitude to them.

Lastly, we want to thank Ms Linda Ma for seeking and compiling the works for this exhibition, as well as the teams in Jakarta, Singapore and Beijing.

We wish the exhibition great success.


August, 2017


* Drs.Siswanto, M.A, The Director of Museum Nasional Indonesia.









Drs. Siswanto, M.A



中国著名艺术史学家,批评家鲁虹在由社会科学出版社出版的《中国当代水墨 1979-1999》和河北美术出版社出版的《中国当代艺术史1978-2008》中指出:"朱伟给我们的启示是,在寻求对于当代生活的表达时,重要的是要努力沿续传统的表达方式,并有所创造、有所丰富。而在当代艺术有着全球同质化发展的情况下,这种保持异质化表达显得特别重要。在艺术史上,即使最有创意的艺术家,也不得不从传统中选择若干样式与惯例作为自己在某个阶段的出发点。然后再按照需要予以偏离、重构。除此之外,别无它法。"









Drs. Siswanto, M.A, 印尼国家博物馆馆长。