Zhang Jianjun

1947 · China

Artist biography

Zhang Jianjun is an established contemporary visual artist. Zhang Jianjun was born in 1947. Also born in 1947 and of this same generation are Albini Leblanc, Christian Bruley, Eileen Cowin, Luca De Silva, and Felipe Herrera.

Further Biographical Context for Zhang Jianjun

Zhang Jianjun graduated from the Shanghai Theatre Academy’s Department of Fine Arts in 1978 and moved to the United States in 1989. Currently, Zhang is a professor at New York University Shanghai. He lives and works in both Shanghai and New York City.

Zhang began to pursue abstract painting in the 1980s. He expresses his personal perspective on humankind and the universe through the integrity of language and constantly explores the existence of the ontological status. His work displays a great sense of belief and understanding of Oriental style.

Zhang’s Existence series typifies ‘rationalistic painting,’ a movement of Chinese avant-garde art that appears after 1985. ‘Rationalistic painting’ is also a branch of Yi Pai, where artists employ squares, circles, dots, and lines from traditional Chinese ink painting to depict the existence of the relationship between the material and universe. ‘Rational’ refers to concept and contemplation. The artists use loose and reserved brushstrokes to illustrate Oriental cosmology and existentialism. In 1986, Zhang Jian-Jun created his oil painting Humankind and Their Clocks, in which he painted people from different races staring at the universe with implications of humankind being confused by the immensity of space-time. This painting has greatly impacted many of his contemporaries. Zhang furthered his studies in the United States in the 1990s and has since shifted his focus to installation art. Much of his work tries to explore the complicated relationships between different cultures, essentially between traditional Oriental and contemporary culture.

The artist’s 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.

Zhang Jianjun

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