"Virtual Focus" ZHU WEI works 1987-2017
City: Jakarta
Duration: 2017-08-26 ~ 2017-10-26
Opening: 2017.08.25
Venue: National Museum of Indonesia
Participating Artist(s): ZHU WEI
Host(s): National Museum of Indonesia


For the past 30 years, Zhu Wei has successfully created many series of excellent contemporary art works that deal with issues within the field of humanity. For the highlight of this exhibition, we present to you Zhu Wei, one of the few Chinese artists who has brought forth classical Chinese painting techniques into the contemporary art world, achieving success in the midst of a global fascination with Chinese contemporary art.

In the book Contemporary Chinese Ink 1979 – 1999, published by the China Social Science Press, and in History of Contemporary Chinese Art 1978 – 2008, published by Hebei Fine Arts Publishing House, renowned Chinese art historian and critic Lu Hong pointed out that, “The wisdom of Zhu Wei’s works lies in showing us that when one is pursuing a contemporary expression, the most important thing is to retain the means of a traditional rendition, to produce innovative results. It is especially crucial to retain a point of uniqueness in one’s artistic output in this time, when the development of contemporary art is under the threat of homogenization. Over the course of art history, even the most creative artist has had to peruse artistic tradition as inspiration for their work at some phrase of their career. Using methods to distance or through means of restructuring, the artist arrives at a new expression. Other than that, there is no other way for artistic breakthroughs.”

Zhu Wei was born in 1966, in the western suburbs of Beijing’s steel plant dormitory area, where he spent a quiet and peaceful childhood. In 1982, he was transcribed into the army, where he began his artistic career. Between the late nineties and in the first years of the new century, Zhu Wei started to gain a name for himself. More than 40 international museums have collected over 70 art works by the artist, who is deemed as the representative figure of contemporary ink art. Not only is he the first artist to bring the Gong-bi technique into the contemporary art world, he is also one of the earliest artist to reflect China’s social history in his work. From 2003, he abruptly restricted the number of art works he produced. For a few years, including the year 2015, he only produced a single art work each year. In these 10 years, Zhu Wei produced many essays and treatises on art, in turn analysing the problems he faced as an artist, and the current state of China’s contemporary art scene, which are compiled into a publication. The book he authored in 2014 occupied the top spot in popular art websites for 4 years.

At this point, Zhu Wei has begun a new phase of artistic pursuits, which he terms as ‘experimentation’, where he seeks for a new expression.

This touring exhibition has been exhibited at Museum of Contemporary Art Singapore (MOCA@Loewen), Beijing Today Art Museum as well as Nanjing Art Academy Museum. The curator of the exhibition in Beijing today Art museum and Nanjing Art Academy museum was Mr Zhu Zhu and Mr Li Xiao Shan respectively. Mr Lu Hong is the curator specially appointed for the shows in the Museum of Contemporary Art Singapore and National Museum of Indonesia, Jakarta. We would like to express our most sincere gratitude to them.

Lastly, we want to thank Ms Linda Ma for seeking and compiling the works for this exhibition, as well as the teams in Jakarta, Singapore and Beijing.

We wish the exhibition great success.

Drs. Siswanto, M.A, The Director of Museum Nasional Indonesia.

August, 2017


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[Editor] 张艳