Apollo and Mustard Seed Garden - Zhang Hui Solo Exhibition
2021.12.18 - 2022.02.13
Artists: Zhang Hui

Apollo and Mustard Seed Garden

Bao Dong


Zhang Hui's paintings always give a sense of radiance, unlike the external style that highlights outdoor sketches or compelling light and shade. Zhang Hui does not try to represent the light in nature; his pictures seem to be illuminated uniformly. He hardly paints shadows but applies the method to chiaroscuro to highlight the shapes on the details. Notably, in his landscape subjects, this approach is similar to traditional Chinese landscape painting, which does not offer a specific perspective of a moment and a place. The painter seems to be an abstract viewer, looking down from afar at the infinite world in a metaphysical gaze.


Thus, his landscapes, cities or mountains, do not offer one the urge to be in them, as everything has been translated into light and elegant structures, colors, and brushstrokes. This immateriality is also reflected in other subjects; for instance, the trees, fruits, and flowers in his paintings are removed from the environment. Their origins are hidden like still life. Likewise, his figures lack erotic quality; although their gender may be apparent, they are not sexy. He paints women, men, and a universal look of human beings.


In other words, Zhang Hui paints the state of things as they should be, not as they happen to be. In this sense, he is a classical observer rather than a witness in the "modern" context. Zhang Hui observes and paints the world into the idealistic and illusor......