Zhu Jinshi (b. 1954)

Born in Beijing in 1954, Zhu Jinshi moved to Germany in the mid-1980s, and at present lives and works in Beijing. Zhu began painting abstract works in the late 1970s, and participated in the Stars group exhibition, the first avant-garde art exhibition held after the Cultural Revolution. The core of Zhu’s artistic practice is most fittingly characterized by traditional Chinese aesthetics, which emphasises the harmony between human beings and the natural world.

Part of the legendary generation of artists who left China in the 1980s, Zhu Jinshi was clearly marked by his move to another country and culture. It was in Germany that Zhu Jinshi first encountered the work of Joseph Beuys, Carl Andre and Arte Povera amongst others; conceptual and performance work seemed much more central in Germany than did abstract painting. For a short time he stopped painting all together and began to make installations and performances. Yet what he was doing was using contemporary Western art languages to find the contemporary possibilities in the cultural resources and materials of China. Since his return to painting in the 21st century, Zhu has built a prolific body of work in the medium with sensuous, impassioned oil paintings that achieve a weighty, physical quality in their built-up surfaces, inseparable from their significance as expressive statement.

Rather than a logical analysis, summarization or expression of individual emotions, the artist characterizes his paintings as “mind images” produced by the complete comprehension of a given phenomenon. He believes that his perception and understanding of the world can be fittingly expressed only through sustained contact and dialogue with materials; it is through this process that these materials act as vehicles for his inner spirituality.

Selected exhibitions of Zhu Jinshi’s include Thick Paint: Jean Fautrier, Franz West, Zhu Jinshi (2014) at Luxembourg & Dayan Gallery, New York, USA; Zhu Jinshi: The Reality of Paint (2013) at Pearl Lam Galleries, Hong Kong; Gravity to Balance Violence (2012) at Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, USA; Power and Territory (2008) at Arario Gallery, Beijing, China; Orient/Ation, 4th International Istanbul Biennial in Turkey (1995); Fang (1990) at DAAD gallery, Berlin, Germany; and The 1st Xing Xing (Stars Group) Exhibition (1979) at Gallery in Beihai Park, Beijing, China. His works have been collected internationally by notable public and private collections. His Xuan paper installation Tao of Xuan Paper is in the Vancouver Art Gallery’s permanent collection.