Press Conference Transcripts of Zhu Wei Solo Exhibition at Today Art Museum (TAM)


Gao Peng (director of TAM): Actually the exhibition has undergone three directors' terms of office. As early as when our former director Zhang Zikang was in office, the plan was discussed and briefly settled. However, because of the span of time, I become the luckiest one. When we were preparing the exhibition, I've read an article written by curator Zhu Zhu about Zhu Wei. The article is excellent. Zhu Zhu said, Zhu Wei represents a very typical type of Beijinger. They have seen the world, and their conversation is always spiced with humor. Through Zhu Wei's exhibition you can find that he has the unique thought of his own. He had been cooperating with an international gallery until 2005. He has experienced many important exhibitions globally. He has seen the world. So you can see from this exhibition the standard of details, including labels, media interviews, requirement of lighting. He's very clear what he wants. You can find that the works being shown here are small both in quantity and size, that's why it created an atmosphere of restraint, while with a spirit of ink. I personally agree to such opinion - the characteristics of oriental sentiment and Asian style are different. It's restraint, modest, and warm. Under the surface of materials, this kind of morphology transmits to us a different feeling. In the exhibition, including the whole preparing process and the final presentation, everything reflects the artist's personality. I like it very much. Hope you can enjoy it too.

Zhu Zhu (the curator of the exhibition): First of all, it's my honor to curate Zhu Wei's solo exhibition. And it's my honor to cooperate with Today Art Museum. In this exhibition the artist himself paid more effort than ever I did. What you can see here is mostly completed by Zhu Wei and his team. So, about Zhu Wei's creating courses, Director Gao Peng has just talked about it, actually in the 90's I had already noticed a very explicit characteristic in Zhu Wei - he said ink should be with the times. When many artists were still struggling to comply with the traditional formula, he had found a way to express the contemporary life. Much of it should be ascribed to his life experience, his understanding of art, and his living conditions at that time. In the preface I have written: for the Chinese contemporary art, Zhu Wei is a witness, as well as a stander-by. He has an insightful knowledge of the process of Chinese contemporary art, and in the meantime his understanding of tradition, or a perspective of understanding, is his own. Within this perspective he developed a distant tone which usually belongs to outsiders. On the other hand, his opinion about ink or art is to say there is no need to create a new form of ink language, and using the predecessor's ink language for contemporary expression is enough. It sounds easy, but in fact it's very difficult to do so. We can see from the entire current situation of Chinese ink painting today that such kind of breaking through the barrier between the ancient and the present is very rare. And the exhibition today shows us the comprehensive history of Zhu Wei's creation in a documentary way. So let's share the achievements Zhu Wei created here. Thank you.

Li Xiaoshan (famous art critic): ......just now Director Gao Peng highly valued Zhu Wei's art. He emphasized on a word -- history. Many artists today, especially the ink artists, don't have a history. They haven't started the journal yet, certainly they don't realize that time lies in their life, their creation, and their hearts - that's why they don't have a history. They are not worth our respect or attention. According to this point of view, Zhu Wei's creating history proves his exuberant artistic vitality. I just watched the exhibition, and I believe it re-proves my opinion. Today the ink painting is a hot spot and has been noticed by commercial speculators, but personally I think there are only few really good ink painters. Ink painting has a long standing and well established history, so, any tiny improvement will be extremely difficult. I have been following Zhu Wei's creation history for years, and I'm familiar with his works of each phase. I discussed with him about the possibility of ink, or the future development of it. To understand Zhu Wei's art, works being shown today provide us a very good interpretation. Thank you.

Lu Hong (Famous art critic, historian and curator): Hello, everyone. As you know, the so-called gongbi painting or imperial court painting has a long history in China. It achieved a peak in Song dynasty, and then came the rise of literati painting in Yuan dynasty, while the gongbi painting or imperial court ink clung to the edge. I think Zhu Wei's brilliance lies in his bringing the traditional techniques into the authentic expression of contemporary themes. By doing so, he developed his unique symbols of modeling, his unique subject and composition, as well as a set of methods of coloring. From 90's till today, there has been a logical process of his works. Zhu Wei used to be a soldier in his early years. From the experience of his military life and contemporary society, he created some images like the bold-headed soldiers, combining with the reality in China, both of which was well presented in his The Story of Beijing series. I think he is different from some gongbi painters who simply use the gongbi (fine brush) as a tool, to fumble the Western sketch mode. However, Zhu Wei's paintings follow the principle of traditional gongbi painting, which is flattening and decorative, while what he expresses is what he feels in his life. But he never simply put subjects in real life directly on paintings. He'll filter the subjects in his mind, and after that, express them by using the most authentic traditional formula. In Zheng Banqiao's words, he has transferred the "bamboo in his eyes" into "bamboo in his mind", and then the "bamboo in his mind" into "bamboo in his hand". I think Zhu Wei's contemporary gongbi paintings definitely cannot be ignored by the people who like ink. In last January I had the pleasure to curate a solo exhibition for Zhu Wei at Singapore Museum of Contemporary Arts. That exhibition made me feel gongbi painting should get more attention. Teacher Xiaoshan just talked about this: the paintings are excellent. Nonetheless, for various reasons of my understanding is we should not follow the market, we should set up our own academic standards. At the end of this year I will curate a contemporary gongbi painting exhibition of six masters at Shenzhen Art Museum - in fact the idea of this exhibition was derived from Zhu Wei's works. There are six exhibiting halls in our museum, for six contemporary gongbi painters, including Zhu Wei, Xu Lei, and so on. I'd like to welcome you all to the exhibition as well. We should study Zhu Wei's art attentively, because he expresses a contemporary feeling; secondly, his works are not simply derived from Western paintings. Many artists nowadays just copy Western realistic techniques, while Zhu Wei uses the most authentic modes of Chinese gongbi painting. I think this worth our serious study and research.

Being contemporary means the artist's works tie closely up with contemporary life. The contemporariness is not reading a somehow hot-selling book, and then according to a concept in it, to make something tactically to fill the gap (of art history). Zhu Wei draws from his life, including his life in military. He didn't carry his life onto paper directly, but transformed it into another form. We can see it......this feeling is totally different from when we are watching a movie and following the protagonist's consciousness. I think it's very difficult to present contemporariness while keeping a distance from Western expressions. While we are pursuing Chinese contemporariness and comparing with the west, Zhu Wei turns our feelings into a specific art language. In addition, this exhibition itself is excellent too. The high ceiling of the front hall should have been a problem for the size of his works, but the designer painted the walls into back and focused the light on paintings, so our minds can concentrate on paintings without dispersal. It's not that easy. Many artists who have held an exhibition under a high ceiling failed, because the space took away a lot of tension of their paintings. But the exhibition today resolves it well, and moreover, it creates an oriental atmosphere. From a curator's perspective this exhibition is remarkable. There are only a few paintings, but we can get to know the artist through them. Thank you.










著名艺术批评家、史学家、策展人鲁虹: 大家好。大家知道所谓工笔画,也就是院体画,在中国有悠久的历史。那么在它的高峰时代宋代,到了元代文人画兴起以后,这种工笔画,也就是院体画,它处在一种边缘的地位。我觉得朱伟老师的过人之处是他把传统工具引进到很地道的对当代题材的表现中,在这样做之中,他找到了自己独特的造型符号、独特的题材、画面的构成方式、和一套渲染方式。他的作品从九十年代到现在,基本上是有一个逻辑过程的。他早年是当兵,他根据自己当兵和当代生活的感受,他创造了一些像那个光头啊,就是光头兵,这是他九十年代《北京故事》中画得非常好的。包括他还结合了中国的一些现实。我觉得他和现在有些工笔画家简单地用工笔的器材去摸索西方写生绘画的模式是不一样的。他的画遵循了中国传统工笔画平面化、装饰化的原则,那么他表现的这些题材是他生活中感受的,但他并不是简单地把生活中的东西搬到画面上去,而是经过内心过滤后,然后用最地道的一种程式表现出来。用郑板桥的话说就是,他把“眼中之竹”转化为“胸中之竹”,然后把“胸中之竹”转化为“手中之竹”。我觉得朱伟在当代工笔画中肯定对我们喜欢工笔画的人是不可忽略的。去年一月我有幸给朱伟老师在新加坡当代艺术馆做了一个个展,今年年底……我就是做这个展览才感觉到,工笔画没有受到应有的重视。那么,刚才跟小山老师谈,小山也是觉得,画得这么好,但是呢,因为市场它可能由于各种原因,所以我们理解是不能看市场,我们应该有自己的学术标准。今年年底我在深圳美术馆做了一个当代工笔六人展,其实这个想法是从朱伟老师的作品开始的,我们美术馆有六个厅,一人一个厅,朱伟、徐累,还有几位,六位当代工笔画家,大家也可以继续关注。我觉得对朱伟,应该去很好地研究,因为他是对当代感受的表达,第二个他不是简单地把西方的绘画汲取。很多人现在直接把西方绘画的写实技巧直接拿过来,他是最地道的中国工笔表现技法,转换到对当代题材的表现。这一点我觉得是很值得我们大家去认真学习和研究的。