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Three projects with Red Gate Gallery
I always think of Red Gate Gallery in the Dongbianmen Tower as the most beautiful gallery in China.
It's a great pleasure to hold an exhibition in the Red Gate.
Red Gate and I have worked together three times. In retrospect, they were all splendid. The three exhibitions were designed by Brian and naturally related to experimental ink painting: Quality of Materiality: Experimental Ink and Wash in 2005; Traces and Temperament in 2007; Back to Basics! Traditional Ink and Wash as a Contemporary Vision. Judging from these titles the curatorial concept, a commercial gallery may not be the most appropriate place to hold them – they should be in a museum!
Although the scale of these three exhibitions was not large, they could be regarded as very important promotional projects for experimental ink painting. The development of experimental ink and wash has been constrained by some conservative attitudes to this medium, so these were important opportunities to promote China's avant-garde ink and wash to the world and explore the international development of it. It is really far-reaching. Two months ago, Red Gate called me to say that an American university scholar had seen one of the shows and that he is currently writing a research paper about this form of ink painting. Through Red Gate he came to me to verify the academic status of experimental ink painting and to find more relevant research books. The research of experimental ink is constantly fermenting and beginning to globalize. In the past ten years, the Metropolitan Museum in NY, the Ritterberg Museum in Zurich, Switzerland, and the Los Angeles Municipal Museum of Art have all presented special research exhibitions on ink and wash.
For this reason, I would like to thank Red Gate Gallery and the founder, Mr. Wallace. I admire him for his courage and determination. In 30 years, Red Gate not only witnessed the development of modern and contemporary art after China's reform and opening up, but also contributed to the promotion of modern and contemporary art in China. We supported each other, but also trusted in each other’s vision.
Zhang Yu Memory Wall
次年，唐泽慧策划我与陈家业的双个展《探花》，当时我展览挺多而作品又出得慢，为这个展览熬了很多个通宵，终算是画出了令自己满意的作品。展前我与家业经常就展览深入沟通，他也是个认真的人，对创作精益求精。开幕当天我们都觉得展览效果还不错，我俩的作品在各自的风格下延续，同时又有着某种呼应。布朗为推荐青年艺术家真是不遗余力，我的作品全部被收藏了，收藏者既有私人藏家也有国外的美术馆，当收到各种收藏证书时，我内心得到了鼓励。红门也一直组织一些艺术家驻地的项目，我与费城来的艺术家Leroy Forney很有缘，记得第一次见面那是2013年，他当时年龄很大了，没记错的话应该有90岁，居然还飞到遥远的北京，在寒冷的大风天走在宋庄荒凉的柏油路上，在我的陪同下挨家挨户的走访中国艺术家工作室，并兴奋的告诉我，走访艺术家是他北京此行的高潮。时隔一年，在我和家业的展览晚宴上再次遇到Leroy Forney，老头第一句就问我：Lili还和我在一起么？我说你记性可真好啊！我们一直在一起。他说我是个Lucky guy。看样子他很喜欢我的画，把我作品的照片与合影都发到了个人博客上并不乏溢美之词。接下来Leroy要对付的是当年严重的雾霾和杨絮柳絮给他带来的不适，看了几轮医生后，他还是顺利的完成了他们的驻留展。交一个朋友就多一份人生参照，Leroy把艺术作到老，乐观的性格和随时保持的好奇心都是优点。他老人家的网站几年没有更新了，甚是想念。2015年，红门的驻地艺术家来到我和Lili在罗马湖的新工作室，回头翻看六年前的这些照片也是很感慨的，当时世界各地的艺术家们还能在相对宽松的政治气氛下、在没有疫情的卫生环境下相互交流，音容笑貌犹如昨日，谁会料到时过境迁。当时我们的爱犬“凯撒”也还健在，跟大家玩在一起很得宠呢，最近我还梦到他。之后，我又参与了2015年“红门二十五周年冬季预展”。一晃又六年过去，我与曾经合作过的策展人唐泽慧、与共同办展的艺术家陈家业等艺术家都保持着友谊，感谢红门让我们结缘，试想这30年来，红门让多少热爱艺术的人成为了朋友呢？在此，感谢这个传奇画廊，离开了东便门，红门依旧是你。
The 30th anniversary of Red Gate has arrived in a flash. I looked back at my resume and found that the first time I cooperated with Red Gate was the Altered Shan Shui States curated by Tang Zehui in 2013. The invitation card which had my work printed in it is on my bookshelf. This show was the first time I went to the tower. It was so romantic. We played on the city wall. The photos taken with Nokia mobile phone and iPhone4 now look fuzzy and warm.
The following year, Tang Zehui curated Highly Prized Flowers with Chen Jiaye. It took me some time to prepare for this exhibition, including valuable time talking with Jiaye, who was also taking this show seriously to present the best works he could. At the opening, we were all satisfied with the exhibition where our respective styles works were evident, but also complimentary. Through Brian’s efforts all my work was collected by private collectors and the White Rabbit Museum. Receiving the collection certificates was very satisfying.
Another fond memory was meeting Leroy Forney in 2013, through Red Gate’s residency program. He would be 90 now, but then he flew to Beijing and I would walk with him through Songzhuang artist village. Later he asked about my wife Lili, always remembering her name. We liked each other and he liked my works. Afterwards, I would keep in contact, often checking his website. I has not been updated for a while. I miss that connection.
In 2015, the artists of Red Gate Residency visited our new studio in Rome Lake. The photos bring back fond memories. Then artists from all over the world could communicate with each other in a relatively loose political atmosphere, free of the restrictions of a pandemic. Their voices and faces were like yesterday. Who would have expected that the situation would change? At that time, our dog "Caesar" was still alive and always fun to play with. I dream of him in that special time.
In 2015, I participated in the Red Gate Reunion reviewing 20+ years of work. For six years, I have maintained my friendship with the curator Tang Zehui and artist Chen Jiaye – we are good friends. Thanks to Red Gate for making us friends. Imagine how many art lovers have become friends in the past 30 years? For this, I would like to thank the legendary Red Gate.
Zhang Zheyi Memory Wall
红门画廊Red Gate Gallery由澳大利亚籍人士布朗·华莱士Brian Wallace创办于1991年，是中国最早经营当代艺术的外资画廊。三十年来，红门画廊始终致力于中国当代艺术推广和国际艺术联络。邀请国际、国内知名策划人在红门画廊策划当代艺术活动，进行高水平的学术交流，向中国观众介绍国内外当代艺术，为中国当代艺术的发展以及中西方的艺术交流做出了巨大的贡献。
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