Zhuang Hong Yi, b. 1962
The flower motif dominates Zhuang Hong Yi’s work – a significant image in Chinese culture which carries countless meanings and emotions yet with equally strong associations with the Netherlands, world famous for its flowers – and he works patiently and religiously on this subject year-after-year, intricately crafting his works with care and forethought. Zhuang’s well known and highly collected ‘flower bed’ works are crafted from delicate pieces of painted rice paper, which he has bent and folded into hundreds of tiny buds creating seductive, tactile works.
In this latest collection, Zhuang has developed his technique from working with a single uniform colour to creating dual and triple coloured works that subtely shift from one dominant colour to another as you move your body and eyes from one side of the work to the other, adding movement and a visual tactileness to the works. Utilizing the traditional Chinese material of rice paper, the works represent Chinese aesthetics, meditations on colour, nature and form, whilst the emphasis on technique and uniformity and the focus on his handling of material are all lessons adopted from the Sichuan College of Fine Arts where he first studied.
Zhuang’s painted canvases bear the influence of Impressionism and other Western artistic practices. Working with a freedom of style as if liberated from his native country’s well-established artistic traditions and boundaries, his impasto strokes of daring, bright colours are expressive and unconfined. Colours melt together and paint drips down the canvas, seeping over a collage of delicated unfolded rice paper flowers. The almost sculptural three-dimensionality makes these works both painting and object. Messiness, variety and chance are all embraced drawing the viewer in, encouraging contemplation as they immerse us in a tapestry of colour and form.
Contemporary artist, Zhuang Hong Yi is based in the Netherlands but was brought up in China. It is this combination of Chinese background and European influence that marks Zhuang Hong Yi’s work. Embracing his present without losing his past, he attempts to define a sense of self that exists between the two. Zhuang enacts this personal struggle visually, vacillating between phases of controlled planning, emotional gesture and careful editing, creating works that represent beauty, sophisitication and a perfection.
Zhuang Hong Yi has exhibited in China, USA and throughout Europe including Germany, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Italy and The UK. He has been the subject of multiple museum exhibitions at Groninger Museum in the Netherlands, and featured at the Pinakothek der Moderne, a modern art museum situated in central Munich's Kunstareal, as well as at the Ulm museum in Germany. His works are held in numerous esteemed public and private collections worldwide.