Spotlight: Chinese Artist Zhuang Hong Yi’s Riotously Colorful ‘Flower Field’ Paintings Are an Ode to the Cherry Blossom

"In Bloom", an exhibition of the artist's iconic flower fields, is now on view at Martina Kaiser Gallery in Cologne.

Dealer Martina Kaiser with artist Zhuang Hong Yi. Courtesy of Galerie Martina Kaiser.
Dealer Martina Kaiser with artist Zhuang Hong Yi. Courtesy of Galerie Martina Kaiser.

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About the Artist: Chinese artist Zhuang Hong Yi is famed for his mesmerizing, intricate “Flower Field” series of paintings. These almost psychedelic and sculptural paintings are the artist’s contemporary homage to the ancient Chinese art of flower painting. Zhuang recently celebrated his 60th birthday and, to mark the occasion, Cologne’s Galerie Martina Kaiser is hosting “In Bloom”, an exhibition of the artist’s recent paintings. 

Installation view "Zhuang Hong Yi: In Bloom" (2022). Courtesy of Galerie Martina Kaiser.

Installation view “Zhuang Hong Yi: In Bloom” (2022). Courtesy of Galerie Martina Kaiser.

Why We Like It: Zhuang’s paintings are composed of relief-like folds of paper painted in kaleidoscopic colors; the hypnotic works seem to change their hues as the viewer shifts their perspective. In this current exhibition, the artist is particularly focused on representations of cherry blossoms. In these works, Zhuang weaves twigs, branches, and blossoms into the three-dimensional structures of his paintings, while his dramatic manipulation of color seems to capture the metamorphosis of these spring blooms.

The cherry blossom holds particular significance in Chinese culture: The tree was first cultivated in the Chinese Himalayan mountains some 2,500 years ago. Blooming at the end of winter, the tree has become a symbol of virtue and perseverance. In these works, Zhuang also acknowledges the artistic traditions of the Qing Dynasty, an era considered the pinnacle of flower and landscape painting, using traditional materials such as rice paper, ink, and silk, as well as the technique of paper folding. His color schemes, meanwhile, obliquely reference Western masters including Impressionists like Monet, and Cézanne and German Expressionists like Franz Marc and Emil Nolde. 

According to the Gallery: “‘In Bloom’ is an ode to the beauty of nature as well as to the relevance of Eastern and  Western art with all its histories and traditions. And in challenging times like those we are experiencing right now, this ode could also be seen as an act of encouragement and empowerment, once more symbolized by the iconic cherry blossom,” wrote Galerie Martina Kaiser in a statement.

See images from “In Bloom” below.

Zhuang Hong Yi, ZHY-B02228 (2022). Courtesy of Galerie Martina Kaiser.

Zhuang Hong Yi, ZHY-B02228 (2022). Courtesy of Galerie Martina Kaiser.

Zhuang Hong Yi, ZHY-B02225 (2022). Courtesy of Galerie Martina Kaiser.

Zhuang Hong Yi, ZHY-B02225 (2022). Courtesy of Galerie Martina Kaiser.

Zhuang Hong Yi, ZHY-B22172 (2022. Courtesy of Galerie Martina Kaiser.

Zhuang Hong Yi, ZHY-B22172 (20220. Courtesy of Galerie Martina Kaiser.

Zhuang Hong Yi: In Bloom” is on view at Galerie Martina Kaiser, through June 22, 2022.


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