The abstract paintings of Zhu Jinshi

A precocious youth forced to work in a factory during the Cultural Revolution, the painter Zhu Jinshi afterwards joined the seminal new art group the Stars (星星), producing works that dabbled in the imported medium of abstraction. Eager to explore Western-style modernism, he moved to Berlin in 1985, only to discover that his work was actually decades behind the times.
However, after spending 20 years in Berlin, he returned to Beijing and continued his practice without becoming an international sensation or a symbol of “Chinese-ness.”
The works in the artist’s current solo exhibition at Blum & Poe on the Upper East Side can be compared to the abstractions of Robert Motherwell or Richard Diebenkorn, though they sometimes play with semi-abstraction, as in the face appearing out of a swirl of blue and red paint in “Elder Feng” (2015). There are also two sculptural pieces, “Bank” (2013), a landscape-like mound of golden yellow oil paint, and the Donald Judd-indebted “Nine Levels” (2015), a modular work consisting of nine boxy floor pieces.
In many of these works, references are made to historical and political experience, but if they appear to go for a too-easy symbolism (the golden “Bank” sculpture, for example), the artist seems less concerned with expressing concepts than with manipulating difficult forms, pushing content to a secondary position (including, again, any political or so-called “Chinese” qualities that might inhabit the works).
Read the Full Article HERE.