Status: Zhao Junzhong's Oil Paintings

Opening time:10:30am, March 29, 2014
Duration: 2014.03.29 -- 2014.04.09
Location: 1st floor exhibition hall of Building No.3, Today Art Museum

Exhibition Preface

Mr. Zhao Junzhong displayed and interpreted his drawings one by one in a drawing room of Caochangdi. They are the results of his research in the past two years. Or, they might not be called results, but on the way to uncertainties. The result is uncertain, and Zhao Junzhong likes this status. He likes to throw himself into an uncertain status.  

This special favor is derived from a kind of rebellion rooted within Zhao Junzhong. During his painting career in the past more than 10 years, Zhao Junzhong had been painting very pragmatically, with the results being completed before creation. Just as Carl Marx pointed out in his works concerning the distinctions between labor and animal instinct, “What makes the most awkward builder differ from the smartest bee from the beginning is that he has built it up in his brains before he does it actually. The result realized when the work is completed already existed conceptually within the labor when this process started.” At that time, Zhao Junzhong’s painting process was just a kind of labor, because the result had already been designed before he started. For this kind of painting, Zhao Junzhong was very tired. He hoped to emancipate himself from this overly explicit purpose and go into an uncertain status. Therefore, he left Shanghai where he was very familiar with, and came to Beijing. Just like a straggler under the pen of Baudelaire, he did not want others to get his whereabouts. 

From the certainty in Shanghai to the uncertainty in Beijing, Zhao Junzhong’s life has seen significant changes. As outsiders, we’ve only observed the apparent changes, but cannot make judgments on these changes. We cannot verdict whether Zhao Junzhong’s changes are good or bad. However, Zhao Junzhong is very satisfied with his own changes. Whatever changes is a good matter for a young artist seeking breakthroughs. Therefore, Zhao Junzhong is not stubborn any more, but gets idle. It is not to say that he is not diligent in work and study, but that he does not care about the results after he makes efforts. He started to get intoxicated in the path leading to his goals. It is not a halfway give-up, but a self exile. 

Zhao Junzhong has also started to seek this uncertainty in drawing. Curiously, to lounge in the halfway is much harder than running toward the goal directly. Just because of this, we don’t say that Zhao Junzhong has given up halfway. As a matter of fact, he has become all the more industrious and devoted. Though he is now drawing much faster than before, he still spends a large amount of time and energies on thinking before taking up his brush. What’re more, he has to bear the distress when the paintings cannot reach the status he initially desired. This is a huge torment, which is doomed to accompany him all the way. Because the status yearned for by Zhong Junzhong is not certain, it is almost a mission impossible to get in line with an uncertain status. 

Therefore, Zhong Junzhong has totally given up his previous skills in painting. He seems not to be a painter. He is seeking and exploring in his paintings. He hopes that his works can unveil an existence status that has never received adequate attention from the public. This status is generally called “dreaminess” or “bewilderment”. We would go into this status when we are alarmed, ecstatic or bored. It sends us being unfocused on some concrete objectives, but getting lost at the crossroads. However, this loss is not the hallmark that we generally label those unsuccessful men. In fact, those unsuccessful men mostly hold a clear goal, i.e. success. Only successful men can get lost or strayed. On this judgment, Zhong Junzhong’s works are not critical realism ones. He does not expect his works to arouse people’s attention to the lower-class life. Zhao Junzhong’s works boast of a psychological disposition and philosophical orientation, which reflect on the common people’s existence status.   


Peng Feng


Zhao Junzhong