P K M GALLERY is pleased to present an exhibition of recent works by Zhou Tiehai (born 1966), one of the most widely recognized Chinese artists.
Among the contemporary Chinese artists who emerged during the 1990s, Zhou Tiehai has distinguished himself with his multi-faceted work encompassing various media of photography, video, performance and painting. His work reflects the globalization and commercialization of Chinese contemporary art and society with criticism and sarcasm on the absurdity of its system.
After earning an arts degree from the School of Fine Arts at Shanghai University in 1989, Zhou Tiehai experienced the rapid change in the political and economic situation of China, especially that of Shanghai, like other artists of the same generation. However, unlike most of the artists who followed the tendency of Chinese political pop art, Zhou publicly and strategically exploited the globalization and commercialization of Chinese contemporary art.
In 1999's Venice Biennale, Zhou created a series of fake magazine covers, including one of Newsweek proclaiming Mr. Zhou a rising star, and a fake newspaper article about a stock called Zhou Tiehai that gained value thanks to foreign buyers, which caused a big sensation among the western audience. Since then, Zhou has been creating Joe Camel paintings that have become his signature work. Joe Camel is a character appropriated from the American cigarette ads representing the prototypical Westerner and also the artist himself. In this series, faces of various protagonists in classical European paintings are replaced by that of Joe Camel.
Zhou Tiehai has participated in many important international exhibitions including Venice Biennale (1999) and group exhibitions at Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2001), Centre Georges-Pompidou (2003), Whitney Museum of Art, New York (2003), Mori Art Museum, Tokyo and others. Also, he held a large-scale solo exhibition at the Shanghai Art Museum in 2006.
PKM GALLERY presents Zhou Tiehai's new series of work including "Joe Camel (Placebo)" series and "Tonic" series showing traditional themes like bamboo, lotus or fish illustrated with airbrush technique. Zhou's newest project "Dessert" series will be shown for the first time in Asia through this exhibition. Composed of a total of 117 small paintings, this work interestingly unfolds a story about an origin of a French dessert cake called "Sabotajnik" and related histories of early 20th century Russia, China and Korea.