Zhang Wei

Born 1952 in Beijing, China



Born 1952 in Beijing, China

Lives and works in Beijing, China

Zhang Wei was born in 1952 in Bejing. In 1986 he moved to New York and since 2005 he has been living and working in Beijing again. Zhang Wei is deemed as one of the first avant-garde abstract painters in China. He began his career in the 1970s as part of the underground artist group—Wuming (No Name). Zhang adhered to the group’s ideals in pursuit of an independent and unique artistic style apart from the politically ordained and thus established art forms at the time. In the early ’80s, impacted by the encounters with western Abstract Expressionism, Zhang unearthed a fresh perspective on his own artistic process, delving into the form of abstraction in order to engender a singular abstract language expressing the ineffable power of artistic freedom.  

Zhang’s paintings echo the instinctive immediacy of action painting and their “style-as-substance” approach alludes to a profound connection to traditional Chinese ink and calligraphy. The texture of his brushwork reveals a thorough modernity that stresses the emotional significance of colors and the cathartic experience of both the creator and the viewer of these works. Zhang’s works are collected globally, including the Art Institute of Chicago, M+ Museum (Hong Kong) and Stiftung zur Förderung zeitgenössischer Kunst, Germany. 

His most important exhibitions include: Salon Salon: Fine Art Practices from 1972 to 1982 in Profile – Focus China. Works from Collection Wemhöner, Mönchehaus Museum Goslar, Germany, 2021, Kunst in Weidingen, Germany, 2019, MA Beijing Perspective, Inside-Out Art Museum, Beijing, 2017, Secret Signs: Calligraphy in Chinese Contemporary Art, DeichtorHallen, Hamburg, Germany, 2014, Right is Wrong / Four Decades of Chinese Art from the M+ Sigg Collection, Bildmuseet Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden, 2014, Blooming in the Shadows: Unofficial Chinese Art, 1974-1985, China Institute Gallery, New York, USA, 2011.