ZHUANG HONG YI
b. 1962 -
Zhuang Hong Yi (b. 1962) is a contemporary Chinese artist who has impressed global audiences with his unique style. His work has been exhibited in China, the U.S. and throughout Europe, including Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Poland, Switzerland and Spain. The artist has been the subject of multiple museum exhibitions and his work is held in numerous esteemed public and private collections worldwide. His works represent beauty, sophistication and a high level of perfection with a clear presence of Chinese influence represented in his use of colours, themes, shapes and materials.
Currently based in the Netherlands, Zhuang Hong Yi was born in 1962 in Sichuan, China. After having finished his artistic education at the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute – the oldest and one of the most prestigious art academies in China – he and his wife (Chinese artist Lu Luo, b. 1971) moved to Groningen, the Netherlands, where they both became apprentices at the established Minerva Academy. After finishing his studies in 1997, Zhuang quickly received artistic recognition. Many exhibitions followed, including the Kunsthal Museum in Rotterdam (1999) and a solo show at the Groninger Museum (2001), a preeminent internationally renowned Dutch museum for contemporary art. After this show, Zhuang received invitations to present his spectacular works in museums and galleries all over the world. In 2007, the Groninger Museum honoured him and his wife Lu Luo with a large duo exhibition called ‘Atelier Beijing’.
As a result of his upbringing and education in China and the international experience and inspiration he has gained in Europe, one can recognise features from his background which at the same time are gracefully combined with strong Western allure. Even after many years of residence in Europe – where he works from a major studio space in Capelle aan de IJssel – Zhuang holds studios in Beijing, where he travels several times a year to work, collect new materials and to get inspiration, and in Jingdezhen, where he paints and produces his porcelain works.
The flower motif dominates the artwork of Zhuang Hong Yi. Year after year he works patiently and religiously on this subject alone. The flower is a significant image in Chinese culture, which carries countless meanings and emotions. Zhuang’s ‘flower beds’ are crafted from delicate pieces of painted rice paper, bent and folded into hundreds of tiny buds. Utilising a traditional Chinese material, the works also represent traditional Chinese aesthetics: they are meditations on colour, nature and form.
His canvas paintings bear the influence of Impressionism and other Western artistic practices. Zhuang Hong Yi’s impasto strokes are expressive and unconfined, colours melt together, and paint drips down the canvas, seeping over a collage of delicately unfolded rice paper flowers. The sculptural three-dimensional quality turn his work both into painting and object. Messiness, variety and chance are all embraced, evidencing Zhuang’s liberation in terms of both aesthetics and technique. Like the flowerbed works, these paintings draw the viewer in, encouraging contemplation as they immerse us in a tapestry of colour and form.
Zhuang Hong Yi’s work is built upon his native country’s well-established artistic traditions and boundaries, which he has married with the Netherlands’ encouragement of freedom of style. Embracing his present without losing his past and he is attempting to define a sense of self that exists between the two. This is the personal struggle that Zhuang enacts visually and through his artistic process, which vacillates between phases of controlled planning, emotional gesture, and careful editing. Objects of appealing beauty, mystery and allure; at once foreign and familiar.
The emphasis on technique and uniformity, and the focus on the artist’s handling of material are all lessons Zhuang Hong Yi adopted at the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, where an academic attitude is predominant, focusing on traditional skills such as printing techniques (wood carvings and lithographies) and figure drawing after models. His work in The Netherlands is characterised by realism and figuration as well, although in a decreasing way. Typical are his ‘Head’-series; portraits, sometimes only the abstracted shape of a head, on large canvases. The rice paper flower finds his introduction towards the end of the 90’s, together with a collage-like technique. The ‘flowerfields’, where Zhuang is still famous for, are to be found in his work around 2005-2006.
View the online exhibition catalogue/s:
Zhuang Hong Yi – In Bloom, 24 August – 17 September 2016
Zhuang Hong Yi, Untitled #36 (2016), Rice paper and acrylic on canvas, 120 x 150 cm (triptych view)
2017 RAW II, The Unit Gallery, London, UK
2017 Flower Fields & Landscapes, Red Sea Gallery, Singapore
2016 In Bloom, Piermarq, Sydney (solo)
2016 TEFAF Maastricht, The Netherlands
2016 The Armoury, New York, USA
2016 Art Miami, USA
2015 RAW, The Unit Gallery, London, UK
2015 TEFAF Maastricht, The Netherlands
2015 Corporate exhibition Rabobank Private Banking, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2014 Art Miami, USA
2014 Solo exhibition, Interbrokers Miami, USA (solo)
2013 Will Makes The World Beijing Found Museum, China
2013 World of Flowers Leslie Smith Gallery, Amsterdam, Shanghai, Miami
2013 Museum Oude Wolden in Bellingwolde, The Netherlands
2013 Venice Biennale, Italy
2012 World of Flowers Leslie Smith Gallery, Amsterdam
2011 Exhibition of Contemporary Asian Art, Mandarin Oriental, Miami, Florida
2010 Stadsmuseum Zoetermeer, Zoetermeer, The Netherlands
2010 Solo Exhibition Keszler Gallery, New York (solo)
2009 Keszler Gallery, Southampton, New York
2009 Art HongKong, HongKong, China
2009 Gallery Ralph Schriever C, Düsseldorf, Germany (solo)
2008 Empty City Shanghai YuanGong Museum, China
2008 Art is nothing? Beijing 798, China
2007 You Gallery, Beijing, China (solo)
2007 Osage Gallery, HongKong, China (solo)
2007 Groninger Museum, Groningen-NL (solo)
2006 Ticket to Beijing-Amsterdam
2004 Gallery Le Besset, St. Jeure d’Andaure, France (solo)
2003 Art Contemporary Century, Dordrecht, Netherlands (solo)
2003 Gallery Art & Henle, Berlin, Germany
2003 Group Show in Poland, organized by Gallery EM
2002 De Boterhal, Hoorn, Netherlands (solo)
2002 Groninger Museum, Groningen, Netherlands (solo)
2001 Stedelijk Museum, Zwolle, Netherlands
2001 ChenDu Biennale, ChengDu, China
2001 Groninger Museum,Groningen,The Netherlands Project ‘Het Traject’
1999 Foundation de Boer Waalkens, Finsterwolde, Netherlands (solo)
1999 Westfries Museum, Hoorn, Netherlands
1999 Kunsthal Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands
1997 Gallery Waalkens, Finsterwolde, Netherlands (solo)
1997 Gallery Patrick Gaultier, Quimper, France (solo)
1993 Gallery Waalkens, Finsterwolde, Netherlands (solo)
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