Formless Thingness

Hu Wei

Curated by Bao Dong and Pi Daojian

05.10. - 06.29, 2019

Beijing 1st & 2nd Space


Hu Wei’s art begins with traditional Chinese painting, expanding the traditional medium of ink into mixed media and elevating a technical medium to ontological “thingness.” In the end, he creates deeper links to the Chinese aesthetic tradition within contemporary artistic creation.


In this exhibition, we understand and discuss Hu Wei’s work through things and appearances. The artist creatively uses many materials and objects, such as rice paper, ink, mineral pigments, metal, ceramic, wood, shells, silk, cotton, and hemp… The process of transforming materials into language gives the specific properties of things infinite “difference.” More importantly, in this process, “thingness” shifts away from specific materials to become a transcendent spiritual presence. It is a contemporary interpretation of “vigor” from Chinese classical poetry and an Eastern expression of the contemporary spirit. 


We named the exhibition “Formless Thingness” to encapsulate Hu Wei’s artistic methods and describe his aesthetic style, but we were also attempting to use this as a way to explore the rich spiritual content of the deeper levels in his works.


This is Hu Wei’s largest solo exhibition to date, and it represents an important part of Tang Contemporary Art’s mission to expand the local study of contemporary art.

​​Download Press Release


Hu Wei

He was born in 1957, Jinan, Shandong Province. Graduated from China Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1982, received bachelor's degree, and stayed at school for teaching. In 1985, the work Li Dazhao, Qu Qiubai, Xiao Hong won the Gold Award in International Youth Annual Art Exhibition. In 1987, he reached Japan sponsored by government, engaged in the research on the comparison of Chinese and Japanese fine arts and the preservation and restoration of ancient paintings with Professor Hirayama Ikuo, the President of Tokyo University of the Arts. He gained Master's Degree of Fine Arts from Tokyo University of the Arts in 1991. In 1995, the "Hu Wei Exhibition" was held in UNESCO headquarters (50th Anniversary Cultural Celebration Project for the Founding of United Nations). He gained Doctor's Degree of Fine Arts from Tokyo University of the Arts in 1996. In 1997, he returned to his old school China Central Academy of Fine Arts, and he was promoted to be a professor unconventionally, directed the "Materials and Presentation Studio". In 2010, he was transferred to National Art Museum of China to serve as Deputy Curator. 

He has successively presided over the art project of the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Art concept design project of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Beijing Olympic Games, Olympic Fine Arts in London Olympic Games. Besides, he was honored the "National Candidate for the Hundred Million Talents Project of the New Century" issued by national Seven Ministries. And he independently created Chen Duxiu and New Youth, the "National Art Creation Project on Major Historical Themes" jointly implemented by Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Culture. He also independently created Zhang Juzheng's Reform, the "5000 Years Art Creation Project with Theme of History of Chinese Civilization" implemented by China Federation of Literary and Art Circles, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Culture jointly.

He took charge of the senior title judge in National Fine Arts Exhibition, National Youth Fine Arts Exhibition, Beijing International Art Biennale, Overseas Study Project of Chinese Young and Middle-aged Artists, China Fine Arts Prize ·Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Fine Arts of Ministry of Culture. He also enjoys special allowance from the State Council.

At present, he is the professor of China Central Academy of Fine Arts, doctoral supervisor of School of Art, Renmin University of China, director of China Artists Association, committee chairman of Comprehensive Materials Painting and Conservation and Restoration Arts Committee. He is also the director of China Overseas Association, and China Council for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification, the director of Western Returned Scholars Association ·Chinese Association for Overseas Students.

His works have been exhibited or collected in more than 30 provinces and cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, as well as many countries and regions, such as Japan, Europe and America.

Curator: Bao Dong


Bao Dong is an art critic and independent curator based in Beijing. In contributing essays to the artistic dialogue and other forms of involvement, Bao has established himself as a leading curator and critic of work by the new generation. His articles have been widely published in art journals and artist monographs both at home and abroad. He has curated many exhibitions for a wide range of art institutions including Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, the Art Center of Chulalongkorn University, Guangdong Times Museum, Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum, etc. He was awarded Asian Cultural Council (ACC) fellowship grant in 2014, and became a nominee of Independent Curators International’s (ICI) 2014 Independent Vision Curatorial Award. Recently he was awarded Yishu Awards for Curating Contemporary Chinese Art 2016.

Curator: Pi Daojian


Pi Daojian is one of the best-known art scholars and critics in China. Pi received his master's degree from the Art History Department of Professional Arts Institute of Hubei. He is currently the Associate Director of the Curatorial Committee of China Artists Association, member of the Academic Committee of “The Guangzhou Triennial” at Guangdong Museum of Art, Research Fellow of Hubei Museum of Art, and the Senior Advisor of Redtory Art & Design Factory in Guangzhou.


Inquire about this exhibition


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No.2 Jiuxianqiao Road

Chaoyang Dst. Beijing, China

B01, 798 Art District, No.2 Jiuxianqiao Road

Chaoyang Dst. Beijing, China

Hong Kong

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Central, Hong Kong

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