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Zhang Zhaohui

Widely hailed as a “dark horse”, Zhang Zhaohui has come to the fore in the realm of ink art in recent years. His work doesn’t seem to have much to do with traditional or popular ink art.  Zhang seems very stubborn when it comes to dealing with ink lines.  He arranges the lines one by one, very meticulously. And by marking ingenious use of the fortuitousness caused by the blending of water and ink, he manages to imbue this mechanical and somewhat indifferent way of working with a peculiarly mesmerizing glamour.  What’s unique about his practice is that he makes a change to the unapproachable nature of Op art through ink brush, transcending the general perception that abstract art is either “cold” or ‘hot”. In other words, by integrating the lines of rationality and glory of sensibility, he manages to present a third state of abstract.

 by Pin Jie


Zhang Zhaohui’s Light Infinity series opens our visible consciousness to a type of abstract visual vibration, elegantly mannered and focused on central imagery. His grids buckle, twist and turn through space, directing our eye toward a central source of light. Inevitably, Zhang’s ink paintings rest on his expertise in constructing optical forms through linear patterns that suggest “infinity” insofar as these grids might open new doors to perception.  His work focuses on the geometric in contrast to the intuitive. His method is cohesive and resilient in alluding to a type of pure optical engagement. In doing so, viewers are able to capture and distill Zhang’a optical nuances in terms of a personal vision, or as a reflective network of isolated phenomena occurring simultaneously within the eye and mind, what some might regard as a collision between seeing and thinking.

by Robert C. Morgan




Born in Beijing


Graduated from Nankai University, Tianjin, Museum Studies in Art History


Graduated from China Art Academy, Beijing, MA


Graduated from Bard College, Curatorial Studies in Contemporary Art, New York, MA degree

2003 - 2006

Central Academy of Fine Arts, Contemporary Art and Culture, Ph.D. Program, Beijing


Lecturer in the Chinese Painting Department of Sichuan Fine Arts Institute


Solo Exhibitions



The Threads That Connect Us: Zhang Zhaohui Ink Painting, Red Gate Gallery, Beijing



Abstract Ink Painting Exhibition, Tenpo Art Center, Taipei



Mountains and waters, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan

Ink Light, Peninsula Hotel Beijing, Beijing



Light Infinity, Design Art Space, Beijing



Dao of Nature, Hakkokai Gallery, Beijing



One and Mass, Light and Time Art Center, Beijing



Origin of Time, Ink Painting Art Museum, Shanghai



 Library of Nankai University



Group Exhibitions



2th Biennale China-Italia, 798 Art Factory, Beijing



International Contemporary Art Exhibition, Art Museum of Nanjing University of Arts, Nanjing



Nanjing International Art Festival, Nanjing International Expo Center, Nanjing



Flowing Ink Art: Chinese Ink Art Painting Biennial, Time Art Museum, Beijing



Invitational Exhibition of Contemporary Chinese Abstract Art, Today Art Museum, Beijing



The Great Wall Art Festival, Beijing



New Beijing Genre of Art Festival, Wenda Gallery, Beijing



Nord Art Festival, Kunstwerk Carlshütte Büdelsdorf, Germany



Five Feelings, COART Festival, Lijiang, China



Because: Mountain, Imagine Gallery, Beijing



Serene Scent: New Ink Painting, Red Gate Gallery, Beijing



1st Milan Biennale  of Sino - Italian Art, Milan


Ink Painting from China, Kyoto Art Museum, Japan


Documentaries of Chinese Performance Art 2012, Macao Museum of Art


Linzhou Ink Painting, Linzhou Art Museum


Narcissus Beyond the Myth, Being 3 Gallery, Beijing


New Chinese Currency, Ethan Cohan Fine Art, New York


Take Out, Varley Gallery of Art, Toronto


Ink Painting Biennale, Dafen Art Museum, Shenzhen


Mind Natural, DYJ Lifestyle Gallery, Beijing


Ink - Brush Painting from China, Miami Art Fair, USA


Ink - Painting No.1, Duolun Art Museum, Shanghai


10th Ink Painting Artist Story, Duolun Art Museum, Shanghai


10th Pucheon International Performance Festival, Seoul


New Media Art Festival 798, Beijing


Nord Art Festival, Kunstwerk Carlshütte Büdelsdorf, Germany


Fantasy, Sunshine Art Center, Beijing


360 Degree Studio Rouge, Shanghai


60-70-80 Chinese Contemporary Art Chateau de Tours, France


Erotic Make Shangdong Oil-painting Gallery, Jinan


You & Me, Joey Chang Art, Beijing


Water & Color, Today's Art Museum, Beijing


Manufactured Happiness, UTS Art Museum, Syndey


Bare Androgyny, 798 Art Compound, Beijing


New Urbanism, Guangdong Art Museum, Guangzhou


0'C Project, Bridge Art Center, Beijing


Where Heaven and Earth Meet, Bard College, Hessel Art Museum, New York


Group show of artists affiliated to Cultural Administration, National History Museum, Beijing

Fellowship and Grants







Asia Link

Curatorial Studies

Library of Nankai University




The components that go into traditional ink paintings are, it seems, the raw materials for artistic development, whether spiritual, aesthetic, or technical. Traditional ink painting combines these elements using established methods and formats to produce the various categories of “traditional Chinese painting” such as gongbi paintings, xieyi paintings, figural paintings, flower and bird paintings, and landscape paintings. To meet the needs of self-expression, today’s artist can choose freely from these raw materials and selectively ignore the specifications and formats of traditional Chinese painting, and the selected elements will provide the materials for creative ink painting. These selected traditional materials, when combined, refined, transformed, and condensed using the concepts and methods of contemporary international art,acquire autonomy against the background of contemporary art; these ink painting materials now made aware and integrated through the artist’s spirit and philosophy work become the artistic medium for relaying information about contemporary society, and the ink painting itself acquires development and reconstructs sequencing, ushering ink into the context of contemporary art.

 The use of line in ink and brush painting is the basic method in “traditional Chinese painting”, embodying the delicate and refined aesthetic for working with brush and ink. The line in traditional Chinese painting serves to delineate the image and it lacks independent aesthetic value. In all ink language systems,I extract a line and render it pure and abstract, rejecting any functions related to reproduction and expression while fully using the softness and pliancy of the brush to reorganize the lines of differing texture, definition, density, and concentration into a picture in ink and to flesh out the rational sense of order in the lines so that they acquire new artistic life. At the same time as retaining classic inktraditions at the center of the work, I draw on concepts and methods of abstract art, opart, and minimalist art, and while preserving the purity of the basic language of ink I attempt to construct an ink painting of a new look that establishes a conversation with a globalized aesthetic consciousness.

The Chinese people have been embroiled in the complex relationships between West and East and between modernity and tradition for a century. In today’s context, these are no longer issues, especially in the practice of art. I can freely draw on any spiritual sustenance I want, unimpeded by form, to transform ink from traditional Chinese painting into florid contemporary art.

Zhang Zhaohui, Summer 2014

10 am - 6 pm, Tuesday - Sunday
798 Art District,
No. 2 Jiuxianqiao Road,
Chaoyang District, Beijing, China
Beijing International Post Office
Box No. 9039,
Beijing, China 100600
(+86 10) 5762 3032
(+86) 137 0107 8721
[email protected]
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