Zhuang Hui


Zhuang Hui
b. 1963, Yumen, Gansu
Photographer
Zhuang Hui grew up in Luoyang, Henan. He attributes his early interest in photography and the arts to his father, who worked as an itinerant photographer. Throughout Zhuang’s artistic work the search for identity in a changing society is central.
Zhuang’s career began with oil painting and then moved to performance art in the early 1990s with works that often involved travel. It was, however, Zhuang’s photographic endeavours that launched him into the spotlight. His One and Thirty series of 1995–6 shows the artist posed full length with thirty different individuals of a particular social or vocational group. Each piece consists of thirty individual portraits arranged in a grid, with the artist as the common denominator across different socially constructed identities. In 1997 Zhuang began a series of group portraits with an antique banquet camera that requires arduous preparation and that produces an elongated horizontal image. The groups he photographed were sometimes as large as 350 people. Each photograph was inscribed with the name and location of the group as well as the date of the photograph. Shuangyuan Energy Source Construction Company, 26 March 1997 shows hardhatted workers posed in front of a nuclear reactor. In each of these photographs the artist himself stands at one end of the group, helping to confound the boundaries between group portraiture and self-portraiture. Zhuang Hui has exhibited his work in ‘Contemporary Photo Art from the People’s Republic of China’ (Kunstverein, Berlin and other venues in Germany, 1997), ‘Revelation Series III: Falling Apart Together’ (Amsterdam, 1999), and ‘dAPERTutto, the 48th Venice Biennial’ (1999).
Borysevicz, Mathieu (1998). ‘The Conductor of Grand Theatre, Zhuang Hui’s Photographic Portraits’. ART AsiaPacific 19:74–9. [Reprinted in John Clark (ed.) (2000), Chinese Art at the End of the Millennium. Hong Kong: New Art Media, 250–4.]
De Matté, Monica (1999). ‘Zhou Tiehai’. In dApertutto Aperto Over All (exhibition catalogue). Venezia: Edizioni La Biennale di Venezia/Marsilio, 216–17.
Nowald, Inken and Tolnay, A. (eds) (1997). Zeitgenössische Fotokunst aus der Volksrepublic China. Heidelberg: Edition Braus, 104–13.
MATHIEU BORYSEVICZ

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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