on ZHOU Tiehai by

(in 'Ambivalent Witnesses, Art's Evolution in China', Flash Art 63, Nov/Dec. 1996)

Zhou Tiehai is a singular figure who, unfortunately, has hardly been involved in collective presentations of the avantgarde. As someone who grew up in Shanghai, China's biggest city and current focal point, he is by no means an outsider to cultural change. His extraordinary gouache works on large scaled wraping paper can be compared with a kind of "bad painting" or graffiti. However, the messages that he transmits through the amalgam of "exotic" iamges and ironical statements, are instead poignant sarcasm directed at power plays in the international artistic, cultural, and commercial exchanges, especially the manipulation of the omnipotet Western mass media and the ambivalent reactions in Chinese society and the art world.

Hou Hanru