KWM artcenter is pleased to present Zheng Haozhong’s first solo exhibition in Beijing from 7 June to 27 July 2018. The exhibition presents 27 paintings painted between 2014 to the present made primarily at two locations: Rizhao and Zhujiajiao. The exhibition aims to show the broad range of his inquisitive and pluralistic approach to painting with representative works from the different studios revealing different themes and stylistic innovations.
The exhibition includes subject matter involving a character called ‘Wanderer’, a man who lived in the artist’s studio for more than half a year where they began to paint each other on the same canvas. There are works based around his once loyal friend, Qiu Chen, with whom he worked between 2013-16 as well as self-portraits from 2017 showing different techniques and styles motivated by his particular state of mind and present way of life at that moment. In the nature series time acts as a medium as well as a subject. He records the life of a persimmon tree over the 4 seasons compressing time. Finally there is a new series of portraits painted straight after a voyage in Tibet in 2018.
Zheng Haozhong talks of his practice as ever evolving as a mystic talks of time: ever changing, mutable and often, immeasurable. The pictures are layered with the accumulative durational process of their own creation as well as everyday life and experience. He is able to move effortlessly between representation, abstraction and figuration – always fusing imagery motivated by the people and places close to him. The work can appear casual and, at times, quickly made but they are always complete. His compositions can be audaciously bare-boned leaving an emptiness which is surprising and a little unnerving exposing a disconnection between real and pictorial space. However, his approach is honest and direct. His skill is clearly witnessed in his ability to make the picture work regardless of how much or little material is on the painting surface or how much surface area is touched.
Exercising various techniques, such as spray paint, watercolour, thick and thin oil and acrylic paint and multimedia, often stuck directly on the surface, Zheng Haozhong has developed a style that shuns the canonical understanding of art history, in favour of exploring conceptual processes through which a contemporary comprehension of his world can be viewed. He knows the possibilities for paintings lie all around us; the skill is understanding how to frame the selection. The works are defined by this variety in painting which at the same time serves to highlight each works distinct formal qualities.
There is more curiosity than certainty in Zheng Haozhong’s gestural play calling to mind everyone from the Nabis painters, Edouard Viullard and Pierre Bonnard, or Henri Matisse to David Hockney, Michael Krebber or David Ostrowski. With each economical gesture or line, he, as they, takes nothing for granted. Each picture proposes the same questions – Is this a painting? How is this a painting? but with a different argument each time.
About the Artist
Zheng Haozhong (b. 1985) graduated from the China Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2008. Today he lives and works in Zhujiajiao, Shanghai. In 2014 he won First Prize in the John Moores Painting Prize (China). His winning painting was exhibited in the National Museums Liverpool and later shown in Beijing, Macau, and Shanghai, among other cities. After his first solo exhibition at BANK, the artist held another solo show at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art in Manchester in the summer of 2016, supported by the John Moores Painting Foundation.
Zheng Haozhong has also published novels online under the pseudonym “Lee Cha.”