Artist: Zhang Hao 

Curator: He Yongmiao

Academic Preside: Yang Jian

Duration: 2024.3.23 - 4.28 

Venue: Renke Art, No.1 North Zhongshan Rd., Hangzhou

Renke Art is pleased to announce the launch of the "Tribute to Su Dongpo" Zhang Hao Art Theme Exhibition during this significant time of our fifteenth anniversary.

This exhibition marks Zhang Hao's fifth solo exhibition at Renke Art.Renowned poet and artist Yang Jian will serve as the academic host, with He Yongmiao, the artistic director of Renke Art, as the curator. The exhibition will feature over 15 new works created by the artist between 2021 and 2023.
Gratitude for a State: Reflections on Fifty Years in Art
As the year 2024 unfolds, memories of my first brushstroke in 1974 flood back to me, evoking a particular state of mind. It was a spring day, amidst dyeing, when I experienced a moment akin to strolling through a meadow, basking in sunlight—a special joy and contentment. Reflecting now, I realize this experience from fifty years ago has been quietly embedded in my artistic journey, a gift from the heavens, shaping pivotal periods in my artistic evolution.

In the spring of 1974, just entering junior high, my innate talent for painting caught the attention of the county cultural center. Enthusiastically responding to the nationwide call for the Hu County peasant painting movement, I, along with over twenty others, embarked on a month-long art workshop. Completely oblivious to terms like "sketching," "color," or "life drawing," I plunged into creation. From sketching to copying, outlining, and coloring, I completed my first artwork in the style of New Year paintings—a defining moment marking my formal entry into the world of art.

Throughout that year, my artwork was repeatedly selected for county, regional, and provincial art exhibitions, leading to its recreation thrice. Memories of the workshop have faded over time, but one state of mind remains vivid—the one where my consciousness transcended the canvas, immersed in the fragrance of the land and the brilliance of sunlight, experiencing the warmth of spring and the freedom of birds soaring in the sky. Looking back, this "visionary state" was indeed art's initial gift to me.

Subsequent years brought annual creations and selections for provincial, regional, and county art exhibitions, focusing on enhancing realism skills as per the guidelines of the time, overshadowing the earlier state of mind.

The second manifestation of that state occurred during my third year at the Academy of Fine Arts in Hangzhou, on a particularly bleak night in 1983-1984. Alone in the classroom, I dipped my brush in ink and let it flow on a piece of raw xuan paper, not pondering artistic style or technique but reminiscing the carefree joy of wandering through northern fields. Though brief, this state left a lasting impression.

Perhaps due to this state, it resurfaced during my graduation works. Each brushstroke portrayed natural truths, allowing real-life emotions to infuse the form, believing that every stroke embodies reality, every form breathes life. This marked art's instantaneous second and third gift, filled with sentiments.

Exploration continued beyond the graduation works of the "85 New Wave Art Movement" in 1985. The language and forms of ink had yet to reach their full potential, prompting a deeper exploration that temporarily concealed the earlier state.

From 1989 to 1994, the state reemerged in every delicate stroke, every subtle ink variation, touched by the mysterious power of the Taihang Mountains. Natural and inner spaces interchanged, each stroke reverent—a renewal of art's gift.

In 1995, sensing the crisis in modern ink forms, I faced a dilemma. Following Western modern art's logic meant betraying ink, while combining it with other art forms seemed insufficient. The gift of art unfolded differently this time. The period from 1996 to 2000 divided into two phases. Initially, art served as spiritual solace, painting as a means to relive memories—the state being "brush and form as memory." Later, a shift in perspective occurred, perceiving reality as the true reality, leading to a reimagining of art—the state transitioning to "the mood of viewing landscapes becoming the genesis of brush and form."

A pivotal moment in 2001 marked the commencement of "Emotional Landscapes." Emotions—sensations—became the central theme, birthing a new set of painting principles guided solely by sentiment.

A European journey that year affirmed this artistic direction, elevating the theme from emotion to spirit, exploring spiritual sensations as a enduring theme. The brushstroke, being the soul of ink language, was termed "the movement of the brush."

Each stroke transported me to the realm of sensation, encapsulating moments of feeling and space.

Since 2002, the journey towards spiritual goals in themes like "My Hometown" and "Spiritual Travels" remained unwavering. Though the time and space within the sensation varied, the state persisted, imbuing every brushstroke with its essence.

As I lay down my brush today, effortlessly, my mind and body immerse themselves in the sensations of my current artistic theme, echoing the sentiment encapsulated in the title of this short essay: gratitude for a state that has guided me through fifty years in art!

January 19, 2024

Zhang Hao



Zhang Hao, born in 1962 in Tianjin, Hebei, completed his studies at the Chinese Painting Department, studying under Professor Shu Chuanxi, at Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts (now known as China Academy of Art) in 1985,and he subsequently joined the faculty. Presently, he holds the esteemed position of professor at the School of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy at the China Academy of Art, as well as director of the Contemporary Ink Research Institute. He currently resides and works in Hangzhou.