Wu Shanzhuan Exhibited at The Saatchi Gallery

Wu Shanzhuan
Today No Water - Chapter 29


Acrylic and oil based marker on canvas

200 x 300 cm
As one of the leaders of the Chinese Conceptual Movement in 1980s, Wu Shanzhaun was the first artist in China to incorporate textual pop references into his work. Wu’s pivotal 1986 installation, Red Humour International, laid the foundation for his highly idiosyncratic and sophisticated approach to painting, which forgoes image in favour of political jingoism, religious scripture, and advertising slogans.

Wu’s canvases appear as a combination of graffiti and expressionism. Rendered with painterly spontaneity, words, symbols, and diagrams battle for space in a virtual terrain between conveyed meaning and pictorial abstraction. Through the act of artistic negotiation, Wu’s texts become dislocated from their original context and stripped of their cultural signification. Reformed and repackaged as sumptuous fields of colour and texture, his mass media dictates are purified as empty lexicons for new usage and contemplation.

Wu’s unique process of painting as writing is exemplified in his Today No Water series. Conceived as a graphic novel, each canvas is a chapter of a continuous stream of consciousness narrative. These works don’t tell a story per se, but rather present a visual tension between fragmented phrases and images, culminating in dizzying compositions that map out free-style associations of ideas, references, and symbols.
Wu Shanzhuan
Today No Water - Chapter 30


Acrylic and oil based marker on canvas

200 x 300 cm
Wu Shanzhuan
New Artwork No. 1


Acrylic and oil based marker pen on canvas

200 x 300 cm
Approaching the re-systemising of informational structures as an intuitive process, Wu reconstitutes the articulated design of print matter as chaotic overload, his bold logos and by-lines emerge as subconscious expressions, striving for intimate cognition. Muted washes, dabs of colour, hurried gestures, and wayward drizzles overlap, erase, and compete for perspectival hierarchy, suggesting an algorithmic order to the perplexities of individual identity and global communication.
Wu Shanzhuan
New Artwork No. 3


Acrylic and oil based marker pen on canvas

200 x 300 cm

Other artists in

Zhang Dali    Zeng Fanzhi    Wang Guangyi    Zheng Guogu    Zhang Haiying    Zhang Hongtu    Zhang Huan    Qiu Jie    Xiang Jing    Shi Jinsong    Fang Lijun    Yue Minjun    Li Qing    Wu Shanzhuan    Shen Shaomin    Li Songsong    Zhan Wang    Liu Wei    Zhang Xiaogang    Zhang Xiaotao    Cang Xin    Shi Xinning    Li Yan    Bai Yiluo    Zhang Yuan    Sun Yuan & Peng Yu    Yin Zhaohui    Feng Zhengjie

Wu Shanzhuan's Biography

Wu Shanzhuan
Born in Zhoushan

Lives and works in Hamburg, Germany and Beijing


Today No Water, Ethan Cohen Fine Arts, New York
Thing’s Right(s) –Ethan Cohen Fine Arts, New York

Thing’s Right(s) – Cuxhaven 1999, Cuxhavener Kunstverein, Germany
Vege-Pleasure, Hanart T Z Gallery, Hong Kong

Vege-Pleasure, Ingolfsstraeti 8 Gallery, The Reykjavik Art Festival 1998, Iceland

Please Don’t Move, Bahnwärterhaus, Gallery der Stadt, Esslingen

Today No Water, 22 Bar, Reykjavik


A Strange Heaven: Contemporary Chinese Photography, Galerie Rudolfinum, Prague, Czech Republic; toured to Art Museum Tennis Palace, Helsinki

Paris-Pekin, Espace Cardin, Paris
The 1st Guangzhou Triennial – Reinterpretation, A Decade of Experimental Chinese Art (1990-2000), Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China

Made By Chinese, Galerie Enrico Navarra, Paris

Chicago Art Fair, Chicago

III Biennale Mercosul, Porto Alegre, Brazil

The 1st Chengdu Biennale, Chengdu Contemporary Art Museum, Chengdu, China

Conceptualist Art: Points of Origin 1950s-1980s, the Walker Art Center; Miami Art Museum
Continental Shift, Musee d’Art Moderne Liege, Belgium
Nordicliveart.org, Paletten, Gothenburg, Sweden

Power of the Word, Taiwan Museum of Art, Taizhong, Taiwan. Toured in Grinnell College, Iowa; Hamilton College, New York; University of Arizona, Arizona and Skidmore College, New York
until January 2002.
Stipendiaten, Kunsthaus, Hamburg

Inside Out – New Chinese Art, Asia Society Galleries, New York, P.S 1 Contemporary Art Center, New York; toured in San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Contemporary Art Museum of Mexico; Tacoma Art Museum and Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; National Gallery of Art, Canberra; and Hong Kong Museum of Art until 2000

Conceptualist Art: Points of Origin 1950s-1980s, Queens Museum of Art, New York. Toured in Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada in 2001
Berlin/Berlin, Platform, Berlin, Germany
NEID 7 Release, KĂĽnstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany
Schnittstelle/Produktion, Shedhalle, ZĂĽrich, Switzerland
...es grĂĽnt so grĂĽn..., Bonner Kunstverein, Germany

The 7th Bienal International E.D.C.R., Portugal
Another Kind of Communism, The Cable Gallery, Helsinki

Unfrieden..., Hamburger Woche der Bildende Kunst, Hamburg

The Scream, Arken Museum of Modern Art, Ishoj, Copenhagen

Der Abschied von der Ideologie, Kampnagelfabrik, Hamburg, Germany

Nordic Wells, Nordic House Reykjavik
Des del País del Centre – Avantguardes artístiques Xineses, Centre d’Art Santa Mònica, Barcelona, Spain

Aus der Eisenzeit, Kampnagelfabrik,Hamburg, Germany
Maos Ungezähmte Kinder, Römer Museum Hildesheim, Germany

China’s New Art, Post-1989, Hong Kong Arts Festival, Hong Kong Arts Centre; toured in Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver; University of Oregon Art Museum, Eugene; Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Indiana; Salina Arts Center, Kansas; Chicago Cultural Center, Illinois; San Jose Museum of Art, California from 1994 to 1997
Mao Goes Pop, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
Made in Hamburg, Kunsthaus, Hamburg, Germany Chinese Avant-Garde, Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, UK. Toured in Brandts Klaedefabrik, Odensee, Denmark and Kunsthall Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
La Biennale APERTO, Venice
Fontanelle, Kunstspeicher, Potsdam, Germany
Fragmented Memory – The Chinese Avant-Garde in Exile, Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio
Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe, Frankfurt

Chinese Avant-Garde, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin

National Gallery, Beijing

3 x China, Galerie Vorsetzen, Hamburg