18.01.2024 – 04.03.2024
Music lovers know the abbreviation “d. c.” as the playing instruction to start a piece of music da capo, i.e. from the beginning, at the designated point.
With this new exhibition in Munich, Du Zhenjun, an avant-garde artist recognized worldwide as a pioneer in the fields of artistic photography and video, returns to the roots of his work.
Born in Shanghai in 1961, Dun Zhenjun grew up in the city’s French Concession. He later emigrated to France, first to Bordeaux in 1991, then to Paris. The artist took the gamble of first developing his talent with major art institutions before agreeing to work with art galleries, and owes part of his notoriety to numerous solo and group exhibitions and installations around the world. These include “Chien-Man” in 1997; “Présomption” in 2000, which won the Installation Interactive prize; “Erase your trace in 2001”; “Vent” in 2003; and “Global Fire” in 2007.
Du Zhenjun’s work has also been a great success with museums and institutions in Germany. These include exhibitions in Munich’s Muffathalle in 2002, 2006 and 2008; his highly acclaimed intervention at the Martin Gropius-Bau Museum (Berlin) in 2007; and a solo show at the Z.K.M (Karlsruhe) in 2013, where he presented his “Babel Tower” series, created between 2010 and 2012, a reflection on the human condition in a globalized, over-mediatized world.
Du Zhenjun has a particular interest in biblical themes and draws his inspiration from the great Renaissance masters such as Hieronymous Bosch and Pieter Bruegel the Elder, sprinkling his work with numerous hints and double meanings.
While his first major series revolved around the myth of the Babel Tower and the Colosseum, Du Zhenjun is now particularly interested in the world of Artificial Intelligence (AI), which he sees as the new lure of modern times. In a new painted narrative entitled “Second Hand”, he depicts humans overwhelmed by mythological or imagined creatures. This innovative work was unanimously acclaimed at the “Asia Now” Art Fair in Paris in October 2023.
Most of the oils presented in the present exhibition are making their first gallery appearance. You will discover how Du Zhenjun now uses painting to explore the wanderings of peoples disrupted by crises. The role and place of the various creatures and human beings are worthy of the ancient masters, as the artist’s culture knows no boundaries. A true theater of animal-human passions plays out in the artist’s paintings, and their mutual respect proves the artist’s benevolence: we are far from the Manichean opposition where man overcomes an evil being. Faced with the tragedy of the world, Du Zhenjun offers us a cathartic art work which manages to reconcile the tragedy of its content with the playfulness of its presentation.
Works from the Babel Tower series are also displayed, providing the keys to understanding how the artist appropriates fragments of images from the Internet and assembles them using the collage technique. The process is slow and complex, involving preparatory work in ink and watercolor.
Du Zhenjun’s remarkable ability to tackle complex themes has been hailed by leading artists, world-class museums and foundations such as the Centre George Pompidou, as well as by international art collectors, who are increasingly joining his circle of admirers. His return to Munich is an opportunity to admire his works, and to invite them into your collections.
Öl auf Leinwand
250 x 200 cm