Eli Klein Fine Art is pleased to announce Zhang Hui’s first solo exhibition in New York. Zhang Hui has been included in exhibitions throughout China and Europe and has established herself as an important figure in the contemporary Chinese art world. Born in Yinchuan province in 1969, Zhang Hui graduated from the prestigious Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts and now lives and works in Beijing.
Zhang Hui has developed and refined her style over many years. Zhang Hui utilized the skills she had learned from her study of calligraphy and traditional arts and applied them to her own concepts, gradually finding her own direction. Zhang Hui began to study diverse representations of women in sources such as the Chinese cinema of the thirties, propaganda imagery from the Cultural Revolution, advertisements, models and fashion magazines. She was searching for a way to express the modern day Beijing woman based on her own personal experiences and the issues facing contemporary Chinese women. She has created a character to express this: “Beijing Wawa” meaning “Beijing Baby.”
“Beijing Wawa” signifies clichéd young girls searching for identity within a society driven by the commodification of culture. The subject of childhoods lost under Mao is a common one in China, but Zhang Hui is looking at her own generation and at a new loss of innocence stolen by new ideals and vacant dreams. “Beijing Wawa” has particular characteristics that exaggerate her personality such as a heart-shaped upper lip, a peach-shaped baby face, a tiny nose that is slightly upturned, and hair like an angel’s wings. She also often has scar on her forehead, like Zhang Hui herself. “Beijing Wawa” reflects a complex, emotional landscape within the portraits of young girls, there is a presence of power balanced with vulnerability, beauty with scars, and youth with maturity.
This exhibition, titled “Beijing Wawa,” includes fifteen new paintings and three sculptures. An accomplished painter, Zhang Hui’s canvases are a unique hybrid of reality and fantasy, tradition and modernity. The paintings are rich and vibrant and each has its own story to unravel, its own mystery, texture, color and personality. The sculptures bring Zhang Hui’s characters into three-dimensional space with various colors, materials and shapes that become their own spectrum of “Beijing Wawa.”