Xu Lei

1963, Jiangsu China

Introduction

Xu Lei, born in 1963 in Nantong, Jiangsu, is a Chinese ink artist internationally renowned for his meticulous and surreal paintings. Trained as a gongbi flower-and-bird painter, his iconic portrayals of horses situated in cloistered settings and scholars’ rocks have garnered him international acclaim. Though possibly anachronistic, his paintings are imbued with questions of loss, and the melancholic feelings surrounding the impermanence of time, things, and objects. After graduating from the Department of Traditional Chinese Art at Nanjing Academy of Art in 1984, he held a research position at the Jiangsu Traditional Painting Academy. In 1990, he returned to using traditional tools and techniques in his creations, such as the use of thin silk, a Chinese writing brush, Chinese ink and mineral colours. He was an active member of the 85 New Wave Movement in Beijing during the 1980s. Xu currently works at the Chinese National Academy of Arts, is the art director of the Today Art Museum in Beijing, and the chief editor of Oriental Art · Classics.


Alisan Fine Arts first began representing him in 1995, holding his first solo exhibition in Hong Kong that year. Titled The Mystery of Absence, the exhibition introduced Xu Lei’s dreamlike paintings, and featured his iconic subjects: classical Chinese material culture rendered in a Surrealist style. In 1997 the gallery organised a group show for Xu Lei and Yu Hui in London at the Browse & Darby gallery, his first exhibition in Europe.

 

 

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2015     
  • Fugue, Suzhou Museum, Suzhou, China
2011
  • Blue Dream, Asia House, London, UK
2010
  • Silent Voices: Ink Paintings by Xu Lei, Red Box Studio & Mee-seen Loong Fine Art, New York, USA
2009
  • Silent Voices: Ink Paintings by Xu Lei, Joan B. Mirviss Ltd., New York, USA
1999     
  • Illusions: Xu Lei’s Art Exhibition, Keyi Gallery, Nanjing, China
1997     
  • Works by Xu Lei & Yu Wei, Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong; Browse & Darby Gallery, London, UK
1995
  • The Mystery of Absence: Xu Lei’s Art Exhibition, Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong
1994
  • Jiangsu Province Art Museum, Nanjing, China
1991
  • Xu Lei’s Painting Exhibition, Cultural Office of the Italian Embassy, Beijing, China


SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITONS

2018
  • Beyond Ink, China Art Museum, Shanghai, China
  • Redefining the City with Context • Beyond the Wall:Xi’an Contemporary Art Exhibition 2018, Xi’an Art Museum, Xi’an, China
2016  
2014      
2012
  • The Chinese Scholar: Ink paintings and works of art, Five Friends of Spring exhibition, New York, USA
2010
  • Reshaping History--Chinart 2000-2009, National Convention Center, Beijing, China
  • Pavilion of China at the 12th International Architecture Exhibition —La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy
2009     
  • Chinese Gardens for Living, Europalia International Art Festival, the Square Brussels, Belgium
2008     
  • Case Studies of Artists in Art History and Art Criticism, SZ Art Center, Beijing, China
  • Zeichen im Wandel der Zeit: Chinesische Tuschemalerei der Gegenwart, Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin & Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Germany
2007
  • What’s next?—Chinese contemporary art exhibition, Hong Kong City Hall, Hong Kong
  • Sensitivity—Memories of twelve artists’ works, Dimensions Art Center, Beijing, China
  • Rotation, Nanjing Qinghe Contemporary Art Center, Nanjing, China
2006     
  • Poetic Reality: A Reinterpretation of Jiangnan, RCM Gallery, Nanjing, China
  • South-east China, Groups Exhibition of Hong Lei, Tang Guo and Xu Lei, Beijing TS1 Contemporary Art Center, Beijing, China
2005     
  • Beyond temporality: presentation of photography according to contemporary Art approach, Ping Yao, China
  • Conspire, Beijing TS1 Contemporary Art Center, Beijing, China
  • Pele dacidade: Imagens of MetropoleContemporanea, Galeria Tap Seac of Macau; Shenzhen Museum of Art, China
2004     
  • Photographs from Nanjing, Nanjing Art Museum, China
  • Dragon’s Nation: Contemporary Art of China, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Ireland
  • The First Nominative Exhibition of Fine Arts Literature, Wuhan, China
  • One to One: Photographs from China, Chambers Fine Art, New York, USA
2003      
  • The Different Same: Contemporary Art Exchange Exhibition, Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art, China
2002     
  • Behind the Reality Other Modernity, Dimensions Art Center, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Paper/Colour, TaiKang Art Museum, Shanghai, China
  • Contemporary Artist Print Art Exhibition, Today Gallery, Beijing, China
2001     
  • Exhibition of Chinese Ink & Wash Paintings, Edinburgh, UK
  • Contemporary Silk-screen by Chinese Artists, Dynasty Art Group, Taipei, Taiwan
2000     
  • Exhibition of 5000 Years of Chinese Art and Civilization, Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain
  • Neo-Inkpaintings, Liuhaisu Art Museum, Shanghai; Jiangsu Province Art Museum, China
  • New Frontier-New Vision, Shanghai, China
1998      
  • New Voices: Contemporary Art Dialogue Among Taipei, Hong Kong & Shanghai, Dimensions Art Center, Taipei; Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong
  • 5 Cinesi a Verpuno, Arte Nel Castello, Italy
  • Exhibition of 5000 Years of Chinese Art and Civilization, Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA
1996      
  • International Asian Art Fair, Alisan Fine Arts, New York, USA
  • Reality: Today and Tomorrow - Chinese Contemporary Art, International Art Garden Museum, Beijing, China
  • Eight Artists From China, Browse & Darby Gallery, London, UK
1995     
  • Walasse Ting & Xu Lei, International Fine Art and Antiques for Asia, Alisan Fine Arts, Singapore
1991     
  • The Practical Art of Paper, Shanghai Library, Shanghai, China
1989     
  • China Avant-Garde, National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China
1986     
  • Four Artists from Nanjing, Invited by Cultural Department of American Embassy in Guangzhou, China
1985     
  • Jiangsu Festival of Contemporary Art – Young Artists Section, China
1984     
  • Sixth National Fine Arts Exhibition, Jiangsu Traditional Painting Academy, China

 

SELECTED PUBLIC COLLECTIONS

Shanghai Art Museum

Jiangsu Art Museum

Beijing Today Art Museum

Nanjing Arts Institute