From Formless To Form – Zhu Peihong


“On a weekend afternoon, I leave my studio to go out for a spin. I jump on my Loaded Tan Tien long-style skateboard and hit the streets, seeing busy people wherever I go. Everyone seems to be in a hurry. As I pass the intersection of Huajiadi and Futong Dongjie, the coloured lights of outdoor advertisements lift my spirits.

“I take a look at my watch: it’s 4:47 pm, I decide to go to the Wangjing Gym for a run on the treadmill. On the motorized vehicle lane, a string of cars has caused a traffic jam; luckily, I’m on my skateboard. Ten minutes later, I arrive at the gym on the 11th floor of Wangjing Center. I start the treadmill at a speed of 8 km/h, looking out at the city below through the glass window in front of me.

“Bright neon lights, car taillights, advertisements, and giant LED light displays on top of shopping malls are laid out before me. I look back at the people inside the gym, only to find that they are all looking at their mobile phones, ‘liking’ other people’s pictures, searching for websites or checking articles about the stock market. I look at the clock on the treadmill: it’s 5:09 pm. One hour later I will go back to my studio to continue working.

“This is me – the daily life of a Shanghai-born artist working in Beijing. As an artist born after 1985, I was born in the city, live in the city, and love in the city. In the city, we both face struggles and ultimately survive. Everything I see in the environment around me slowly becomes a projection of my instinctive attitude towards life, society and values.

“Perhaps this is why I have worked on the series My Space for so many years, being drawn deeper and deeper into its themes rather than tiring of them. In the city, these bright lights and colours draw the attention of our eyes. Yet in another sense for you, for us, and for them, behind this apparent beauty lies a truth opposite of its appearance.

“In recent years, every day I paint blocks of colours and draw lines, with the act of painting having become an integral part of my life. I find great happiness in knowing that my life has become so intertwined with artistic creation.”

Wall Series

“It was 2008. I had a visit to an ancient city in China called Pingyao in Shanxi Province. I sketched a lot of the electronic wires and broken traces on the old walls. After I came back to Beijing, I kept on drawing these traces for a long time.”

Dead Leaf & Dry Flowers

“After the Wall Series, I started to focus on dry leaf and flowers, and think about the colour that can represent death. I spontaneously used the colours I felt to draw these plants that had already died. After these two series, I began to extract a more pure language, after a long period of discovery, My Space series had appeared.”

Electrical Resistance

“After I came up with the style of My Space, I started to collect some other materials to express my understanding of the space. And also after this, I started to use materials in my work. I kept on focusing on the relationship between the city and my work.

“Neon lights, billboard lights, car taillights, broken traces on the walls, electronic wires hanging along the road-side, paints splashing on the ground, etc. Those actions seem meaningless, while can form an independent colour space. Also, I do not try to complicate an integral artwork, because everything that varies each day can influence my work.”

Material, Sketch, Crystal, Untitled Series

“Recently, I started to research using these four series, tending to a more free creation, refusing to think about the idea of an artwork, and, trying to reveal instinctive colour.”


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