朱偉

1966年 北京出身

朱偉の作り出す作品は、オリジナルの紙に中国顔料、膠を用いて作られ日本画のようなマチエールを感じさせる。人間らしさや、子供時代の古き良き時代の中国をモチーフに、暖かみと優しさと、どこか懐かしさを思い起こさせる作風はユニークさとユーモアを感じさせる。
政治的なメッセージよりも、一昔前の中国の持つ穏やかな人々の暮らしや雰囲気を表現した作品は、穏やかでありながらもエネルギーを感じるさせる。

朱偉の作品は海外でも高く評価され、中国、アメリカ、ヨーロッパなど25カ国以上の美術館に収蔵されている。
'Zhu Wei: Utopia'
by C.B. LIDDELL (The Japan Times)



"Holidays" (No.3.) by Zhu Wei COURTESY OF TOBIN OHASHI GALLERY
The status of contemporary Chinese art often seems driven by the notion that China is projected to overtake America as the world's leading economy and superpower sometime in the future, combined with the rather naive hope that artistic freedoms will somehow spill over into wider political freedoms.

The inherent qualities of the art seem somehow secondary in this grand socio-economic-artistic narrative. That Chinese art has accrued such a political patina is enough reason to be wary of it, but among all the buzz and chatter of a preternaturally active art scene, it is still possible to find art that sidesteps the hype and exists on its own terms as the culmination of authentic artistic processes.

The color ink wash paintings of Zhu Wei are a case in point. Painted with a traditional Chinese painting technique, these have a delicate, old-fashioned charm; while their contemporary subject matter avoids kitschy evocations of the past. The individualism and character of the artist is also strongly present in the distinctive way he has managed to stylize these modern motifs - mainly slightly satirical closeups of human figures - to fit this time-honored medium.

Given the nature of his art, it is also appropriate that Zhu Wei has opted to make his Tokyo solo debut with a small, low-key show at the Tobin Ohashi Gallery. The ironically titled "Utopia" show will present four specially prepared paintings along with eight prints.

This intimate outing represents quite a contrast to the loudly-trumpeted but hugely disappointing "Ai Weiwei - According to What?" at the Mori Art Museum, which welcomed China's most renowned contemporary artist to Tokyo a couple of years ago - especially as Zhu Wei is by far the more palatable artist.



Zhu Wei - Tobin Ohashi Gallery - Tokyo
by ozgaka (ART iT)


Zhu Wei's exhibition is his first in Japan and it reveals his memories of what appears to be of officials' from Communist China. It's a strange portrayal of human beings by Zhu because none of these official Chinese party figures seem to look you in the eye; there is a kind of avoidance of it within this exhibition.

For example, there is a lithograph titled; Comrade (that actually looks like a pencil drawing because Zhu has achieved an excellent system in constructing an image with this print media) but the idea of Comrade tends to fade away because there is something more going on psychologically within the stillness of the print.

For instance, within Zhu's Comrade print there is the sensation resonating of indifference to the viewers gaze, there is not even a hint of recognition, it's like the official is lost in a day dream but even that is hard to say, it's like he exists, resigned to his fate in life, distant to everything that appears to be nothing more than living in the now, oblivious to time, trapped incognito and obedient to unseen hierarchies..

Comrade it's an interesting word but how many times does it appear to be used so flippantly in life, for when one looks at Zhu's print there is no reassurance that this official would ever treat me as a comrade, for his eyes are down cast, turned away, not engaging and fingers crisis crossed limply, as if there is no energy with the cigarette in his fingers burning/smouldering aimlessly away, echoing the futility of his existence without even a token drag on it, it's like his being is sucking the life out of you as the smoke drifts aimlessly into space only to vanish into insignificance which tends to be metaphor for him..

This exhibition brings about many questions about the Chinese societal memories of old and the new. And as one observes the other painted imagery on the walls within the gallery, there is a feeling that engaging the past is just as important as seizing the future but these figures tend to want the advancements presented in the now to be affirmative but they seem suffocated under the controls of the past.

A partial reality might be from viewing Zhu's China and its comrades is that the ongoing and unlimited challenges caused by the use of the historical characteristics of avoidance and the current mix of capitalism is a shift to something more liberal and user friendly for the common good.

On top of these complex societal Chinese painted memories that Zhu as presented in this exhibition is a very good system of painting and print making, it's a delight to examine the traces, hues and tones within his paintings, what was also surprising is that this artist makes his own paper which reveals a very intimate involvement on his part in the process of image making.