Zhu Jia (born in 1963, Beijing) belongs to the small group of pioneering conceptual artists who got active in China of the early 1990s. Since then he has established an outstanding personal language to confront, testify and also intervene in the constantly agitating and mutating reality. Zhu Jia’s lean practice and no-nonsense thinking has gained him a lot of respect in the art world.
Zhu Jia is conceptually probing unique visual and mental experiences. The Face of Facebook (2011/ 2012) is the main focus of Zhu Jia’s first solo exhibition in South-East Asia.
It consists of 67 portraits of Mark Zuckerberg - mostly small format traditional oil paintings and drawings - based on a photo of the founder of Facebook. But The Face of Facebook is not a traditional artwork, it is a work put together by contributions from Zhu Jia’s personal network of friends, among them no lack of powerful names in the contemporary art scene in China. Liu Wei, Liu Xiaodong, Shi Yong, Sun Xun, Wang Guangyi, Yan Peiming, Yang Fudong, Wang Yousheng, Yue Minjun, Zhang Peili, Zhang Xiaogang etc., contributed, anonymously, to Zhu Jia’s The Face of Facebook. All the works are not signed leaving the identification of the creator of the individual work to the guessing public.
Zuckerberg "internet kingdom" established a new way to be in touch with people. It changed - and is changing - our lifestyle. It brings out also the contradictions in political and economic interests. Even the absence of Facebook in China arouses a lot of topics and imagination, the notion of "face" in China, of "guanxi" etc. "The Face of Facebook is not a question of painting per se, but it delves into the question of power, politics and market.” Thus, this project is a seemingly replacement of his Facebook account in China, yet it goes further and deeper.
Besides The Face of Facebook, four other works, Zero, Never Take Off, Did They Have Sexual Relation?, Forever are part of Zhu Jia’s first solo exhibition in Singapore.
Repetition and uncertainty is a constant theme in Zhu Jia’s works. Repetition of endless movements provokes a state of "stagnation", which expands the point in between of state A and B into eternity. Such transformation usually exceeds conventional "visual experience" and ordinary "psychological experience", Zhu Jia uses quasi-motionless images to focus on details of human figures, everyday objects and banal landscapes and expose their "objective" state of existence.
Zhu Jia’s works have been exhibited in major museums around the world including MoMA, NY; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Seoul Art Museum, Korea; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, The Netherlands; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Dr. Earl
Lu Gallery, Singapore; Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; Castello di Rivoli, Italy; Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan; The Photographer’s Gallery, London. And in major contemporary art museums in China including Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai; Guangdong Times Museum, Guangzhou; Today Art Museum, Beijing; National Art Museum, Beijing; Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai etc.
This exhibition provides an engaging look at Zhu Jia’s major works over the past two decades.