One of the most important contemporary practitioners of the classical Chinese medium of ink and wash, Zhu Wei ensnares both the old and the new in his imagery. Armed with a humorous sensibility shaped by a significant stint in the People’s Liberation Army, a thorough passion for Chinese rock’n’roll, and an exceptional facility at invoking antiquity, Zhu paints his own unique picture of present-day China. Reserved, reverent members of modern society who do not speak are juxtaposed against charged, coded landscapes of old that do. A quiet political commentary is ciphered into his compositions and configurations, a function of a childhood spent in a revolutionary past and an adulthood witnessing a drastically changing present. The artist has held solo exhibitions in China, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia, Belgium, Hong Kong, and the United States. His work has been included in group shows across China—at spaces such as the Today Art Museum in Beijing, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Shanghai, and the Guangdong Museum of Art in Guangzhou—and abroad, at the National Art Gallery in Athens, Greece, and the Museum Belvue in Brussels, Belgium.
Zhu Wei arts critic and essayist, was born in 1966 in Beijing, and received education in the People's Liberation Army Academy of Art, Beijing Film Academy, and China Institute of Art. He started writing as an educated youth in Heilongjiang in the 1970s and on his return to Beijing in 1978 got his first break working as journalist and editor for China Youth. He became Deputy Chief Editor of People’s Literature in 1983, and, as editor in charge of the Arts section, promoted and encouraged new writers such as Liu Suola, Ah Cheng, Mo Yan, Yu Hua and Su Tong. It was at Zhu Wei’s house that Yu Hua first met Su Tong, who later commented on the meeting, ‘It felt as though here, at last, were my friends.’
Zhu Wei continued to champion new writers in his Readers Magazine column ‘New Writers at a Glance’. His appointment in 1995 as Chief Editor of Sanlian Life, has allowed him to consolidate this role as cultural commentator.
His recent book ‘On Quality’ is a collection articles and essays from the Sanlian column of the same name; a personal commentary on contemporary culture of the last few decades. Running through these observations is a belief that the quality of our cultural and inner life is fundamental to our wellbeing.
Zhu Wei made his first appearance in international exhibition in 1993, and has put on more than 20 Solo Exhibitions worldwide ever since. More than eight different editions of special anthologies of his works and reviews have been published. His ink and wash works have been collected by more than 20 domestic and foreign museums.
He devotes himself to contemporize Chinese ink and color on paper, and make it become an important integral of world contemporary art.