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October 2000 二零零零年十月刊

Portfolio - Asia’s Investment Magazine

October 2000

Zhu Wei’s Diary 

It’s not often that we see contemporary Beijing-based artists described as ‘investment grade’ but this is just the accolade attributed to the work of Zhu Wei.

Recognised as a leading contemporary Chinese artist, Zhu Wei’s art is his diary of experiences and perspectives on modern society. Combining modern symbolism and classical anecdotes, Zhu Wei captures moments of triumph and trauma within China’s modern history.

Within half an hour of Zhu Wei’s sculptures appearing at New York’s International Asian Art Fair, they attracted the attention of two Guggenheim Museum trustees. Such types are more accustomed to collecting Chinese archeological figures (like Han Dynasty tomb figurines or Tang dynasty horses) and Western contemporary art (like Jackson Pollock, Jasper Johns, and Andy Warhol), but in Zhu Wei they saw a rare connecting theme. As director of Plum Blossoms Stephen McGuinness explains, “[Zhu Wei] plays around with archeological themes, but his work is very contemporary. [The trustees] snapped it up.” This has an obvious impact on Zhu Wei’s marketability but if you are tempted, McGuinness warns that there is no such thing as a no-risk investment. “I could probably sell Zhu Wei’s work in a couple of days, particularly if it was a special piece. The way things are going, a 1995 vintage Zhu Wei may cost US$50,000 or US$100,000 ten years down the line. But, who knows? Maybe it’s going to be worth nothing.”