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Wiiliams College Museum of Art  


wcma.williams.edu 美国威廉姆斯大学网站

March 2012 二零一二年三月

wcma.williams.edu, March 2012

Modern & Contemporary Chinese Art

Zhu Wei (Chinese, b. 1966)
Great Water, No. 21, 2001
ink and color on paper
Gift of Red Rock Studio, Hong Kong, A Williams Alumnus

Zhu Wei (Chinese, b. 1966)
China Diary, No. 52, 2001
ink and color on paper
Gift of Red Rock Studio, Hong Kong, A Williams Alumnus

Text by Gao Shiming, Executive Dean of the School of Intermedia Art, China Academy of Art
Translated by Donald Maruyama, Williams College Class of 2012

Zhu Wei, born in Beijing in 1966, first studied in the Liberation Army’s Art Institute, then in the Beijing
Film Academy and the Chinese Art Research Institute. He is one of the few artists to use traditional
ink painting to interpret Chinese social realities. From 1993, Zhu Wei has continuously participated in
international exhibitions with these ink paintings.

While Zhu Wei’s works primarily consist of ink paintings, he has also created many sculptures and
engravings. His grasp of the reality of the lives of modern Chinese people is at the core of his artistic
endeavors. Zhu Wei is always able to unobtrusively transform a collective unconscious viewpoint into
his own unique perspective, weaving in and out across the boundaries between childhood dreams and
reality. His ink paintings have an intensely individualistic quality : his techniques, including the traditional
fine brushwork and heavy use of coloring, as well as the exquisite patient style, perhaps originated from
the strict training he received in the Liberation Army’s Art Institute. The composition of some of his works
is similar to that of a story board and approaches a film plot. For Zhu Wei, his paintings are a medium
through which he narrates his fables and stories, especially in his serial works. In terms of depicting
the human form, he has chosen the early Renaissance style with a slight absence of three-dimensional
shapes, which particularly suits traditional Chinese drawing habits. Through the use of painstaking
rendering and mottled skin texture, the artist represents the human form in a lightly carved style. The
self-deprecating inquiry and the familiar scent of the homely, the absurd, and the numbness - these are
all central aspects of the mood of Zhu Wei’s works.

His work:

Great Water No.21

Great Water, No. 21

Zhu Wei’s Great Water Series is comprised of twenty-five works; while the size and color of each painting
differs, they all utilize fish scale patterns as background, and are quite ornate. In the series, the richness
and the pursuit of subtle changes of the ancient “Clouds and Water Painting” are completely subverted.
Zhu Wei incorporates excerpts from the traditional “Clouds and Water Painting” and renders the coldest,
most mechanical replication. The scene is reminiscent of calico or cheap wall paper. This work resembles
a blueprint more than a painting. The artist’s desire is simply to flaunt a kind of attitude towards tradition
and an action of disenchantment.

China China No.52

China Diary, No. 52

The German artist Richter has stated, “Everything made since Duchamp has been a readymade, even
when hand-painted.” We should examine the color design of this piece through the lens of a “readymade”
item. As is commonly known “mimicry” is an important methodology of study in Chinese paintings.
Mimicry is not simply characterized by imitation but rather a response, a dialogue between contemporary
artists and ancient masters. However, the work created in 2001 called China Diary No. 52 is simply a
replication of the ancient painting style. Even the personal seal of the previous collectors of the original
piece to the traces of wear left by passing time has been impeccably duplicated.
Be that as it may, the painter after all is there for more than simple duplication. In the tradition of Chinese
painting, a creator should not cover too much of the empty space in the painting with his own seals, and
should leave room for the seals of future collectors and connoisseurs. Zhu Wei on the other hand has a
large set of different seals of his own, including even a seal carrying the address of his personal website.
The latter is a little joke defying tradition, but at the same time a mark of the information era. It is a type of
archaeology that faces the future, not without irony but real to its existence.





威廉姆斯大学美术馆网站wcma.williams.edu, 2012年3月



英译:Donald Maruyama

此文为美国威廉大学美术馆(Williams College Museum of Art)藏品说明——编者注

香港Red Rock工作室 一位威廉姆斯校友捐赠

香港Red Rock工作室 一位威廉姆斯校友捐赠

撰稿人高士明为中国美术学院跨媒体艺术学院常务副院长,译者Donald Maruyama为威廉姆斯大学2012年学生。

朱伟1966年出生于北京,先后在解放军艺术学院、北京电影学院、中国艺术研究院就读。他是为数不多的使用传统的水墨画解释中国社会现实的艺术家之一 。从1993年起,朱伟已连续以水墨画参加了许多国际性的展览。



Great Water No.21


China China No.52