ZHU WEI (B. 1966)
China China
each: signed in Chinese and numbered '9/12' (on the left shoe)
(i) signed in Chinese and numbered '9/12' (on top of the base)
bronze with brown patina, covered with dirt, on a steel base, in two parts
(i) 188 x 94 x 68cm.
(ii) 196 x 106 x 77cm.
Executed circa 2007, this work is number nine from an edition of twelve
Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner.
Brussels, Museum Belvue, Today’s China, 2008 (another example exhibited).
Chicago, Singapore Museum of Contemporary Arts, A Revisit to Chinese Contemporary Art, 2015 (another example exhibited).
Wuhan, Hubei Museum of Art, Contemporary Sculpture Art Work, 2018 (another example exhibited).
Beijing, Tsinghua University Art Museum, A Snapshot of Globalization, 2020 (another example exhibited).
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Lot Essay

Zhu Wei is one of the leading figures in Chinese contemporary ink painting. Born in 1966 to parents who served in the military during the Cultural Revolution, his childhood memories begin with the military institute. He then went on to study art at the People's Liberation Army of Art, Beijing Film Academy, and China institute of Art. He is best known for The Story of Beijing and China, China series, documenting a rapidly changing social standard, as well as psychological weakness of human nature. Zhu has a humanistic approach on examining social events employing ubiquitous images of the social leaders in a board context.

The present lot, executed circa 2007, is a pair of sculptures derived from Zhu's most notable painting series China, China. In the work, the two life size figures suited in a typical Zhongshan suit - also commonly known as the Mao jacket, stand at attention with shoulders back and arms at their sides, heads raised. The figures are featured without eyes and mouth, leaning forward at a tilt yet firmly standing on the steel platform beneath. Such structure and stance of the sculptures evoke a sense of satire on the totalitarian and compliance dogma of the Mao's era. In addition, the figures' rounded features and childlike forms shed light on how a child would see the world in its splendour. As a whole, while this work emphasises further Zhu's innocent outlook as a child during the Mao era, his witty creation is an amalgam of past and present which induces the viewer to look at the life and history that is unfolding in front of us with an open approach. Through his witty and sharp subject matters, Zhu's lively and rich visual language has opened a new door for the public to acquaint themselves with Chinese contemporary art.

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