Born In 1959, Works and lives in Shanghai, China
Tires of the Old and Finds Joy in the New， Increase Domestic Demand
Painting|Oil On Canvas
Consumerism becomes the new belief system in Ji Wenyu's color and detail saturated images. Revolution, market economy and art history are alienated and stripped of their original meaning. In his emblematic paintings, Ji Wenyu contrasts communist propaganda imagery of workers and peasants in heroic poses with Western brand-name product logos. Here, political propaganda enters new alliances with Western marketing's promises of happiness, which the artist (not without irony) holds up against the public of a radically changing China. By juxtaposing images and iconographies of the stereotyped oriental and the assumed occidental, Ji Wenyu questions the politics of cultural representation. Ji Wenyu's universe is full of surprises and references to both political occurrences and cultural productions, focusing on the precise distortion of today's spectacle society. De-contextualization enables the artist to take a humorous stand, as if to attempt a hyperrealism that surpasses the reality of the daily lives we lead in the midst of detached floating images. Irony is key to Ji Wenyu's work. Between the use of mimesis, critical distance and narrative, Ji Wenyu's work achieves a rare balance between surrealism, pop and precision. Revisiting the dichotomies of modernist painting, he manipulates the boundaries between figure and ground, to produce an intense and comic baroque kitsch universe.
Refusing to bind himself to a single medium, he seems to consider art as an exploration of strong imagery, humorous intelligence and formal precision. This suggests a true integration of art into the everyday life represented by his expressive multiplicity and eclectic approach. In his images and amorphous sculptures, created in collaboration with his wife Zhu Weibing, Ji Wenyu blends ingenuous and aesthetic objects that make his works so compelling.
Ji Wenyu was born in Shanghai in 1959. He graduated from Shanghai Art and Craft School, Decoration Department and Light Industry College in 1980 and 1988, respectively. Ji Wenyi has participated in numerous exhibitions including Make Over, OV Gallery, Shanghai (2010); HyperDesign-Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai (2006), Here the Scene is Better, H-Space ShanghART Gallery, Shanghai (2006), Dressing Up before Going Out, Museum 52, London, U.K.(2006); Infinite Painting, Villa Manin - Centre for Contemporary Art, Passariano, Codroipo(Udine), Italy (2006), Original, Shanghai Original Art Center, Shanghai (2004) and Money and Value, the Last Taboo, Expo 02, Switzerland (2002).