November 2009 issue of Hi Art, ‘Cover Story’ Column
The Studio Room with a CBD View
Article: An Xixiang Photograph: Zhen Hongge
You could immediately realize that it’s Zhu Wei’s territory on seeing the painting on the wall of the studio. Being distinct from most artists’ studio, it’s nearly spotlessly clean here.
Zhu Wei’s studio looks fairly empty, ‘This place is not for living, but only for working.’ Once he stayed here half a night — Slept alone after everybody left, no matter how thick the quilted covers were , you still felt empty all around the body. Zhu Wei bought this studio in 2007. There was hardly a LOFT in Beijing at that time, moreover, the two large French windows to the north side of the door which provide good lightening in the daytime and the panoramic view of the lighted CBD in the evening amazed everybody. Zhu Wei emphasized, ‘This studio was bought by myself, now it’s already worth double of the price I paid due to an appreciation. At least there is no chance of dismantlement against a bought studio, and the fortune could be weakened because of move on move against the demolition.’
Although there is Zhu Wei’s large work ‘New Pictures of the Strikingly Bizarre, No.5’ hung on the wall, empty is still the immediate sensation for the studio room which is 5.6 meters high, it may be related to Zhu Wei’s long-period moving of his belongings from previous studio which has lasted for two years but not yet moved all his belongings here. A flag with flowers painted on it was hanging on the top of the mid-wall, I could not understand and asked, ‘What’s that for?’ ‘Painted by my wife, totally two, one is hung in the studio, the other at home.’ Zhu Wei answered. Zhu Wei’s worktable is well worthy of a careful observation— skeeler, radio, tape measure, dumbbell, basketball, pastel…take you into an illusion that this may be some amusement park.
The studio was designed all by Zhu Wei himself. Along the original girders in the house, the south room was divided into two floors. His paintings ‘Strikingly Bizarre, No.2’ and ‘China China’ are hung on the wall downstairs. A long wooden table is placed in the reception room, and the lines of kitchen are rigid and brief. There were three places attracted us all through the visit, the large refrigerator with double doors, the aluminous garbage can down beside the stairs, and the multi-colored porcelain jars in human shape on the wooden table. We paid attention to the fridge because Zhu Wei opened it frequently to invite us for ice-cream; and for the garbage can it was its size which is almost the same with the public waste bin in the residential quarter that attracted us, handsome! As for the multi-colored porcelain jars, ‘It’s a pity that there is a small crack on it, otherwise we will see it at the auction, also thanks to the crack, it was taken home with only 100 yuan.’
We were chatting during the whole afternoon in his studio; our topic was all the way from potted banana in the studio to female artists. Zhu Wei was still remarking when we were about to leave, ‘Artist is artist, don’t act like a party girl. Artist ought to turn up with the appearance of artist; anyway, you are a worker.’
《Hi 艺术》 2009年11月刊 “封面故事”栏目