Consumerism becomes a belief system in Ji Wenyu's vibrant, detailed, yet saturated images. Revolution, market economy, and art history are alienated and stripped of their original meaning. In his emblematic paintings, Ji Wenyu contrasts communist propaganda imagery of workers and peasants in heroic poses with Western brand-name product logos. Here, political propaganda works mutually with Western marketing's promises of happiness, which the artist, ironically, presents to the public of a radically changing China. By juxtaposing images and icons of the stereotyped oriental and the assumed occidental, Ji Wenyu questions the politics of cultural representation. Ji Wenyu's works are full of surprises and reference both political occurrences and cultural productions while also focusing on the distortion of today's spectacle society. De-contextualization of classic icons enables the artist to illustrate a more humorous perspective, as if to attempt to create a hyperrealism that surpasses the reality of the daily lives we lead in the midst of detached floating images. Irony is paramount in Ji Wenyu's work. Between the use of mimesis, critical distance, and narrative, Ji Wenyu's work achieves a rare balance between surrealism, pop, and precision. Revisiting the dichotomies of modernist painting, he manipulates the boundaries between figure and ground to produce an intense and comical baroque kitsch universe.
Refusing to bind himself to a single medium, he seems to consider art as an exploration of strong imagery, intelligent humor, and formal precision. This suggests a true integration of art into the everyday life which is represented by his expressive multiplicity and eclectic approach. In his images and amorphous sculptures, created in collaboration with his wife Zhu Weibing, Ji Wenyu blends ingenuous and aesthetically pleasing objects that together make his works so compelling.
Ji Wenyu was born in Shanghai in 1959. He graduated from Shanghai Art and Craft School, Decoration Department and Light Industry College in 1980 and 1988, respectively. Ji Wenyi has participated in numerous exhibitions including Make Over, OV Gallery, Shanghai (2010); HyperDesign-Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai (2006), Here the Scene is Better, H-Space ShanghART Gallery, Shanghai (2006), Dressing Up before Going Out, Museum 52, London, U.K.(2006); Infinite Painting, Villa Manin - Centre for Contemporary Art, Passariano, Codroipo(Udine), Italy (2006), Original, Shanghai Original Art Center, Shanghai (2004) and Money and Value, the Last Taboo, Expo 02, Switzerland (2002).