Zhang Jian-Jun

1955, Shanghai

Introduction

Zhang is an abstract artist preoccupied by the themes of existence, time, space, and transformation, and their effects on individuals and culture. He began to pursue abstract painting in the 1980s, with the Chinese ink and mixed media paintings from his 1985 Existence series typifying the ‘rationalistic painting’ of the Chinese avant-garde movement. He gained recognition for the oil painting Human Beings with Their Clock (1986), depicting human confrontation with the limitations of existence within the space and time continuum. Zhang furthered his studies in the United States in the 1990s and has since shifted his focus to installation art and an exploration of cultural differences between East and West. This work from his elemental ink series experiments with Chinese ink and the elements of fire, water and wood (rice paper). As an ink painter, ink could arguably constitute the fourth element of air, as the life (breath) of an artist is inextricably linked to his practice.

 

Zhang graduated from the Shanghai Theatre Academy’s Department of Fine Arts in 1978 and received the ACC Visual Arts Fellowship in 1987. Currently, Zhang is a professor at New York University and divides his time between Shanghai and the US. In 1987 he was honoured with an ACC Rockefeller fellowship, and in 1990 with a grant from The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, New York, USA. He recently gained the artist-in-residence programme award co-presented by K11 Art Foundation, Hong Kong and the Royal Academy of Arts, London (2019). Zhang Jianjun has held solo exhibitions in New York, Germany, Japan, Singapore, and China, including at the Shanghai Art Museum, Harvard University, Guangdong Museum of Art, and Pace Prints in New York. Group exhibitions include Ink Worlds at the Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University (2018); Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China (2013), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Flowing River: 30Years of Chinese Oil Painting (2005), National Art Museum of China, Beijing; International Arts Festival Dusseldorf (1995); and ’83 Experimental Painting Exhibition (1983), Fudan University, Shanghai. His work is included in major collections such as the Brooklyn Museum, New York; San Francisco Asian Art Museum, California; M+ Museum, Hong Kong; Guangdong Museum of Art, China; Shanghai Art Museum, China; and Yuz Museum, Shanghai, China.


BIOGRAPHY
1955    Born in Shanghai, China
1978    Fine Arts Department, Shanghai Theater Academy, China
1986-89    Director of the Curatorial and Art Research Department, Shanghai Art Museum, China
1987-89    Assistant Director, Shanghai Art Museum, China
1995-2002    Curatorial Advisor, Shanghai Art Museum, China
1996-2000    Member, Artistic Advisory Committee, First Shanghai Biennial, Shanghai Art Museum, China
1997-2013    Adjunct Professor, New York University, New York, USA
2000    Member, Artistic Advisory Committee, Third Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai Art Museum, China
Participant, International Curatorial Workshop, Museum of Modern Art, New York
2005    Member, Artistic Advisory Committee, Sixth Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai Art Museum, China
2019    Awarded Artist in Residence, K11 Art Foundation & Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK; Hong Kong
2013 - Present     Associate Professor, New York University Shanghai Campus, Shanghai, China
2019     Awarded Artist in Residence, K11 Art Foundation & Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK; Hong Kong

 

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2019                       

  • Zhang Jian-Jun: Human Traces, Royal Academy Schools, London, UK

2017                       

  • Between Then and Now, OCAT Xi’An, Xi'an, China

2016                       

  • Water • Quintessence, Pearl Lam Gallery, Shanghai, China

2015                       

  • China Chapter, Galerie Albrecht, Berlin, Germany
  • Jade Mountain & Ink River, Christian Duvernois Gallery, New York, USA
  • 1980s: Zhang Jian-Jun’s Early Artwork (1978-1988), Yuz Museum, Shanghai, China
  • Nature and Beyond, Art Basel Hong Kong, Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong
  • Water • Ink • China, Pace Prints, New York, USA

2014                       

  • Nature, Art Projects International, New York, USA

2012                       

  • Forms • Water • Vestiges, Pavilion of Repose Garden, Kunshan, China

2011                       

  • Water, 99 Art Center at M50, Shanghai, China

2007                       

  • Alternative Landscape, 140 sqm Gallery, Shanghai, China
  • Mirage Garden Part 6 (in collaboration with Barbara Edelstein), South Beauty Garden, Shanghai, China 
  • Vestiges of a Process: New York, Shanghai, New Village, iPreciation Gallery, Singapore

2005                       

  • Vestiges of a Process, Asian American Art Centre, New York, USA
  • Garden of Wishing Trees (in collaboration with Barbara Edelstein), Maiden Lane Exhibition Space, New York, USA

2004                       

  • Vestiges of a Process: Chelsea Chapter, DTW Gallery, New York, USA

2003                       

  • Mountain & River, Art Projects International Gallery, New York, USA

2002                       

  • Chinese Ink Garden of Re-Creation, He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, China
  • Vestiges of a Process: Guangzhou Chapter, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China
  • China Chapter, Museum of Shenzhen Art Institute, Shenzhen, China

2001                       

  • Art Projects International Gallery, New York, USA

1997                      

  • Footprint, Gallerie Deux, Tokyo, Japan

1995                      

  • Art Projects International Gallery, New York, USA

1994                  

  • The Paradox of the Fish, Gallery Contempo, New York, USA

1989                  

  • Nerlino Gallery, New York, USA

1988                 

  • Existence, Kay Garvey Gallery, Glen Ellyn, Illinois, USA
  • Harvard University, Boston, USA

1987                 

  • Shanghai Art Museum, China

 

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2020

  • Contemporary Forms of Ink Painting, Alisan Fine Arts, Art Basel Online Viewing Rooms, Hong Kong

  • Ineffable Garden: Zhang Jian-Jun & Barbara Edelstein, Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong

2019

  • Arts of China: New Acquisitions, Asian Galleries, Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA

  • 30 Years of Contemporary Chinese Art Exhibition, Waigaoqiao Cultural Art Centre, Shanghai, China 

  • Out of Ink: Interpretations from Chinese Contemporary Art, Pera Museum, Istanbul, Turkey

2018

2017

  • Avant-Garde ∙ Shanghai: 1979-2010 Documenta of Shanghai Contemporary Art, Ming Yuan Art Museum, Shanghai, China

  • Landmark, Guardian Art Center, Beijing, China

  • Extension at Sea: Installation, Concept, Image, Video, China Art Museum, Shanghai, China

2016

  • Under Heaven: Contemporary Art from China in the Ahmanson Collection, Ahmanson Gallery, Irvine, California, USA

  • White Grey Black, Gallerie Canvas International Art, Amsterdam, Netherlands

  • Water & Ink: Tradition in the Contemporary Art, China Cultural Center in Brussels, Belgium

  • Chinese Whispers, Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland

  • Wu-U Speech: Artists Living in Shanghai, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China

2015

  • View from Shanghai, Cloud Art Museum, Shanghai, China

  • 30 Years of Contemporary Shanghai Art, Sheshan Contemporary Art Center, Shanghai, China

  • Force 12 Hurricane: Ming Gathering, Ming Yuan Art Museum, Shanghai, China

2014

  • Pursuing Dream: Shanghai Sculpture Invitational Show, Shanghai Sculpture Space, Shanghai, China

  • Experimental Art: The 12th China National Art Exhibition, Today Art Museum, Beijing, China

  • Art Basel Hong Kong, Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong

  • China Arte Brazil, OCA, Sao Paulo, Brazil

  • Nomads, Ming Yuan Art Centre, Shanghai, China

2013

  • Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA

  • Tutte le strade portano a Roma: 17 artisti contemporanei da Shanghai a Palazzo Brancaccio, Museo Nazionale D’Arte Orientale, Rome, Italy

  • Yang Shi (Form), Z-Art Center, Shanghai, China

  • Portrait of the Times: 30 Years of Chinese Contemporary Art, Power Station of Art, Shanghai, China

  • Voice of the Unseen: Chinese Independent Art 1979-Today, Arsenale, Venice Bienniale Collateral Exhibition, Venice, Italy

  • Early Contemporary Art in Shanghai, Baoshan International Art Centre, Shanghai, China

2012

  • Culture Shanghai: A Return Oriented Towards the Future, Shanghai Sculpture Space, Shanghai, China

  • Ink Now, Special Project of The SH Contemporary Art Fair, Shanghai, China

  • Water, Anacostia Art Museum, Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC, USA

  • Undoing ShuiMo – Contemporary ShuiMo Exhibition, Shanghai Doland Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai, China

  • A New Spirit in Ink: An Exhibition of Cutting Edge Ink Art, Zendai Contemporary Art Space, Shanghai, China

  • Shanghai! La Tentation de l’occident, L’Institut Culturel Bernard Magrez, Bordeaux, France

  • Line, Art Centre of Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts, Shanghai, China

  • Water/Ink Biennial, DaFen Art Museum, Shenzhen, China

  • Ink Boundary, M50 Art Centre, Shanghai, China

2011

  • Celestial Abstraction, Contemporary Art Museum, Rome, Italy

  • 20 Years Retrospective Exhibition of 1991 San Diego Chinese Artistic Creation Seminar, Xi'an Art Museum, Xi'an, China

  • Selected Asian Cultural Council Fellows: Then and Now, Asian Cultural Council; Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong

  • Shan Shui, Kunstmuseum, Lucern, Switzerland

  • Sofia Paper Biennial, National Gallery of Foreign Art, Sofia, Bulgaria

  • Nature and Its Modern Forms, Ming Yuan Art Centre, Shanghai, China

2010

  • Shenzhen International Chinese Ink Biennial, Shenzhen, China

  • Big Draft - Shanghai, Kunstmuseum Bern, Bern, Switzerland

  • Speed and Chaos, Ping Yao International Photography Biennial, Ping Yao, China

  • Vestiges of a Process: Transition, Zendai Contemporary Art Centre, Shanghai, China

  • Celestial Abstraction, National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China

  • Shanghai, San Francisco Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, USA

2009

  • Ink Society, Sunshine International Museum, Song Zhuang, Beijing, China

  • In-Situ: A Dialog with Space and Time, River South Art Center, Shanghai, China

  • Chinese Gardens for Living: Illusions to Reality, Europalia.China International Arts Festival, The Square, Brussels, Belgium
  • Shanghai Tang - History in the Making: Shanghai 1979-2009, Jumen Art Center, Shanghai, China
  • Yi Pai, Today Art Museum, Beijing, China
  • Direction of Ink Art, Zendai Zhujiajiao Art Museum, Zhujiajiao, China
  • A Starting Point: Intrude 366 - Dynamics of Change and Growth, Zendai Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai, China

2008

  • Mountain & Water, Dresden Art Museum, Dresden, Germany
  • Towards Abstraction: 1976-1985 Shanghai Contemporary Art, Zendai Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai, China
  • Art Multiple, Ke Center for the Contemporary Art, Shanghai, China
  • Vestiges of a Process: Shanghai Shikumen Project 2008, Intrude 366, Zendai Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai, China
  • China Abstract Painting 30 Years, Caixa Forum Museum, Barcelona & Madrid, Spain

2007 

  • Rejected Collection, Ke Center for Contemporary Arts, Shanghai, China
  • Asia/Europa Meditation, Poznan National Museum of Art, Poznan, Poland
  • 3rd International Art Festival, Rajamangala University, Poh-Chang, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Escape by Crafty Scheme_salvation From Traditional and Revolutional Language, Square Gallery of Contemporary Art, Nanjing, China
  • Language/Environment, Museum of Contemporary Art Beijing, Beijing, China

2006 

  •  Crossing the Atlantic, Goldsmith’s College, London, UK
  •  Entry Gate: Chinese Aesthetics of Heterogeneity, 1st Envisage, Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai, Shanghai, China
  •  Experimental Ink, Contemporary Art Museum, Tianjin, China
  •  Close to Home, BlockParty Brooklyn, New York, USA

2005 

  •  Flowing River: 30 Years of Chinese Oil Painting, National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China
  •  100 Years of Chinese Sculpture, Shanghai Sculpture Space, Shanghai, China
  •  1st International Sculpture Biennale, Xu Jia Hui Park, Shanghai, China
  •  Black+White, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China
  •  Regards to ’85, Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai, China
  •  Poles Apart Poles Together: Markers V, Venice Biennial, Venice, Italy
  •  Anniversary Show, Beijing Film Institute, Beijing, China

2004 

  • Shenzhen International Chinese Ink Biennial, Shenzhen, China
  • Shanghai Abstract Survey - 50 Years, Ming Yuan Art Center, Shanghai, China
  • 10/20, Lui Haisu Art Museum, Shanghai, China
  • A Grain of Dust A Drop of Water: The 5th Gwangju Biennial, Gwangju, Korea

2003 

  •  10-Year Anniversary, Art Projects International Gallery, New York, USA
  •  Breathe, New York University Gallery, New York, USA
  •  Diverseworks Art Center, Houston, USA

2002 

  • Urban Creation, Shanghai Biennial, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China
  • Guangzhou Triennial, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China
  • East + West, Kunstlerhaus, Vienna, Austria
  • China Triennial, Metropolitan Museum of Guangzhou, Guangzhou, China

2001 

  •  1st Chengdu Biennial, Chengdu, China
  •  Markers, Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
  •  Metaphysics and Reality, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China

2000 

  • Construction in Process VII: This Earth is a Flower, The International Artists’ Museum, Lodz, Poland
  • Cow Parade, New York, USA
  • Milestones for Peace, Jerusalem Art Festival, Jerusalem, Israel

1999 

  • Wrap the World, The Kitchen, New York, USA
  • Transience: Chinese Experimental Art at the End of the Twentieth Century, Smart Museum of Art, Chicago, USA

1998 

  •  Observatoire 4 Galerie, Montreal, Canada
  •  “hinese Artists Working in New York, Purdue University Gallery, Indiana, USA

1997 

  • Bank: Inside the Counting Room, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York, USA
  •  Art Projects International Gallery, New York, USA
  •  Sculpture 1997, Connemara Conservancy Sculpture Park, Dallas, USA

1996 

  • Open Space, Shanghai Biennial, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China
  •  Pennsylvania University Art Museum, Pennsylvania, USA
  •  Eastern Fusion: Contemporary Asian American Art in New York, Hillwood Art Museum, New York, USA

1995 

  • Grosse Kunstausstelung, Dusseldorf, Germany
  • Peace, Earth, Healing, Hiroshima, Japan

1993 

  • Construction in Process #4, The Artists’ Museum, Lodz, Poland
  •  93NY50, Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, New York, USA

1992 

  •  Ruine der Kunst, Berlin, Germany
  •  Conversations, The Artists’ Museum, Lodz, Poland
  •  Workspace ’92, Jamaica Arts Center, New York, USA
  •  Natural History Museum, New York, USA

1991 

  • San Diego State University Gallery, California, USA
  • Annual, Asian American Art Center, New York, USA

1990 

  • East West Contemporary Inc. Gallery, Chicago, USA

1989 

  • China/Avant Garde, China National Art Gallery, Beijing, China

1988

  • Last Supper performance, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China
  • Art Museum of Nanjing, Nanjing, China
  • Annual, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China

1987

  • Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong
  • Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong
  • Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, California, USA

1986

  • Tokyo Municipal Museum, Tokyo, Japan
  • Annual, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China
  • First Shanghai Young Artists Competition Exhibition, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China

1985

  • Annual, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China
  • Shanghai Theater Academy Gallery, Shanghai, China

1983

  • Painting Experiment, Fudan University Faculty Center, Shanghai, China

1979-82

  • Annual, Shanghai Art Museum, China

1978

  • Wild Roses, Shanghai Theater Academy, China

SELECTED AWARDS & GRANTS
2019    Awarded Artist in Residence, K11 Art Foundation & Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK; Hong Kong
2014    The New York Foundation for the Arts, Gregory Millard Fellowship in Sculpture
2002    The Annie Wong Foundation, Hong Kong
1997    The New York Foundation for the Arts, Sculpture
The Connemara Conservancy, Texas, USA
1996    The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, New York, USA
1995    Art Matters Inc., New York, USA
1994    The Djerassi Foundation, Resident Artist Program, California, USA
The Gustavo Nicolich Fellowship and Permanent Collection
1990    The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, New York, USA
1987-88    Asian Cultural Council, USA (Create artwork in the US, and to survey contemporary art)
1986    First Prize, The Shanghai Young Artist’s Exhibition, China

 

SELECTED COLLECTIONS
Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA
San Francisco Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, USA
Frederick R. Weisman Foundation of Art, California, USA
Djerassi Foundation Collection, California, USA
Dow Jones Company, New Jersey, USA
Lehman Brothers, New York & Hong Kong, USA
Uli Sigg Collection, Switzerland
International Artists Museum, Lodz, Poland
White Rabbit Collection, Sydney, Australia
Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China
Yuz Museum, Shanghai, China
Shanghai City Government, Changning District, China
Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China
Shenzhen Art Institute, Shenzhen, China
Ink Art Center, Kunshan, China
M+ Museum for Visual Culture, Hong Kong

K11 Art Foundation, Hong Kong

JP Morgan, Hong Kong