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Zhu Rui is a young artist from Yunnan. His style is typical for the Yunnan Art School - thick oil-based inks, reduction woodblock prints and the influence of folk art of the ethnic minorites that can be found in the South of Yunnan province. In spite of his young age Mr. Zhu Rui has acquired the status of a leading Chinese artist. His art works are in several Chinese museums.
First Publication: October 2006
Latest Update: May 2013
We received our first prints by Zhu Rui in late summer of 2006. They are all reduction woodblock prints - signed, dated, titled and numbered by the artist in pencil on the lower margin as usual. The artist used a thick clean white paper - more of the quality type that one is used from contemporary Western artists.
We mention this as most Chinese art prints of the 1980s and still 1990 were printed on a paper of low quality - which of course does not allow any conclusions on the artistic quality of the print works.
But back to Mr. Zhu Rui. He works with thick oil-based colors that avid collectors know well from artists like Hao Ping, Ma Li or Yang Yongsheng. The sheets are well printed with slight but no major ink smudges on the margins. Mr. Zhu Rui's art creations have the typical touch and feel of the Yunnan Art School.
The Yunnan Art School is not a real school but a term used by art critics and art professionals to describe a certain art movement in printmaking that has begun in Yunnan in the late 1970s and early 1980s and has continued until now. The Yunnan Art School has recently become widely known outside China. We have watched this development since 2003 and would not be surprised to experience in the years ahead a kind of trendy Yunnan Wave in the art world.
Mr. Zhu Rui can be regarded as from the second generation of Yunnan artists. His style reminds us of the earlier works by Ma Li and also of works by Mr. Yang Yongsheng, who is the founder and president of the Qujing Art Institute. And as Mr. Zhu Rui is currently employed at this art institute, it is no surprise that his works show the influence of these great masters.
Zhu Rui likes brilliant colors. Art friends are remotely reminded of German expressionism of the artist groups of The Bridge and The Blue Rider. But while the German expressionists' printmaking capabilities were at least in technical terms challenged, Zhui Rui has learned the printmaking craft from scratch at one of the best academies of the world - the Chinese Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA).
Zhu Rui was born in 1970 in Simao city in the very South of Yunnan province. Simao city is the place where young Chinese artists are said to have developed in the 1980s the technique of the reduction woodblock prints. Since then Yunnan has developed into a Chinese printmaking center that has caused worldwide attention over the last years.
Zhu Rui is from the second generation of modern Yunnan woodblock printmakers. In 1992 he graduated from the Art Department of Yuxi Normal School of Yunnan province.
In 1995 he continued his printmaking studies at the printmaking department at CAFA (Chinese Academy of Fine Arts). The CAFA is within the system of Chinese art training the ivy-league institution. It is like studying at Harvard or Princeton.
After his graduation, Zhu Rui made a remarkable career. He is is now a member of the China Printmakers Association and of the Yunnan branch of the China Artists Association. Mr. Zhu Rui currently works as a professional artist at Qujing Art Institute in Yunnan. That is the place where Mr. Yang Yongsheng is the president.
We got this wonderful video showing the artist at work in his studio. Enjoy it. it is beautiful.
Mr. Zhu Rui is by the way also a famous photographer. He exhibits regularly at photographic exhibitions. Many of his works have been published in magazines like "Chinese National Geography".
By Guang Jun, professor at CAFA (Chinese Acdamy of Fine Arts) and director of China Artists Association for Printmaking writes:
"After the 1980s there were a few young artists from Yunnan, who created colourful prints. These prints brought to us enthusiasm, purity, and even some mystery. As these artists were short of material, they used only one block, and made beautiful artworks by printing from this block more than one color. They called this technique reduction woodblocks."
"They may not have known that in the 1950s there was a famous painter named Pablo Picasso who used the same principle. But this is not important. The printmakers of Yunnan province are very clever. Zhu Rui is an outstanding young artist among them. He is not perfect. But what is estimable is his concentration and perseverence for art. I have the feeling to visit Yunnan's landscapes together with Zhu Rui when I see his artworks."
(Comment by artelino: Picasso used a comparable technique for linocuts to create a multi-color linocut print from one linoleum plate. Both the media (linoleum) and the compositions applied by Picasso are however not comparable to the challenges of a reduction woodblock as created by Yunnan and other artists from China.)
Wu Changjiang, professor of CNAFA (Chinese National Academy of Fine Arts) and director of the printmaking department of CNAFA and vice-director of China Artists Association writes:
"Zhu Rui grew up in Yunnan's beautiful mountains. His artworks are also full of nimbus. Most of his prints are reduction woodblocks printed with oil-based colors. During his creation process, every step of cutting and printing demands strict discipline and excellent harmony. Zhu Rui gives us a great images by using freely the woodblock characteristics: multivariant and creative."
Comment by artelino: Chinese people use a more flowery language compared to Western people.
"I am feeling a dulcet melody from the deep of my heart, colorful butterflies, mystic rain forests, lonely ridges and unpretending indigenuous people. All these appear spontaneously from my graver. Art should make people feel free, and art should be natural just like breathing. I am crazy for art. Why have I choosen painting? Maybe because painting is the best approach to express the meaning of life."
In 2002, his print book "Selected Prints of Zhu Rui" was published by Hong Kong Oriental Art Center of China, ISBN 962-85842-7-8.
31 sold object(s) by Zhu Rui born 1970 in our Art Archive
Author: Dieter Wanczura
.. more about Dieter Wanczura
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Works by emerging Chinese artists in BUYDIRECT.