Zhou Brothers: Early Fantasy. Where the dream began.


Currently on view at the Zhou B Art Center is a wonderful exhibition by the Zhou Brothers which contrasts works from the 1970’s to the present.  Zhou Brothers: Early Fantasy gives a glimpse of their unique creative path in contemporary art.

The Zhou Brothers, Shan Zuo and DaHuang Zhou, were born in China in 1952 and 1957 respectively. They studied drama and painting at the University of Shanghai from 1978 to 1982 and the National Academy for Arts and Crafts in Beijing from 1983 to 1984 where they received their MFAs. During the beginning of the 1980s they became leaders of the contemporary art movement in China. In 1985 they won the National Prize of the Chinese Avant-Garde of the Ministry of Culture and the Prize for Creativity from the Peace Corps of the United Nations. They were also honored as the first contemporary artists ever to show their work in an exhibition that traveled to the five largest museums in China. In 1986, they moved to Chicago and entered the international art stage.

Twenty-seven years after their arrival in Chicago, the Zhou Brothers are two of the most important contemporary artists in the world. Their silent dialog, which characterizes their creative work process, has given them uniqueness unlike any other living artist today. Their work presents an expressive symbiosis of Eastern and Western philosophies and has been the focus of major exhibitions around the world. In 2011, in honor of President Hu’s State Visit, President Obama presented the Chinese leader with a painting created by the Zhou Brothers.

Zhou Brothers with Chinese President Hu Jintao and US President Barack Obama. Photo by Pete Souza, official White House photographer.

2013 has been poignant in the lives of the Zhou Brothers. They have experienced a major homecoming in China resulting in important exhibitions at the Yong Jiang Inlet Art Museum and the Beijing 1+1 Art Centre which featured the “Zhou Brothers China Series”. This new series is currently traveling to over 20 museums in Mainland China. At the beginning of this month, the exhibition “Zhou Brothers” opened with great success in their hometown Nanning, at the new Art Museum of Guangxi.

“Zhou Brothers: Early Fantasy” provides a unique opportunity to retrace their artistic career to where the dream began. Their resilient spirit and silent dialog, which characterizes their work, has been the basis for an incredible odyssey that has returned them to their birthplace. For the Zhou Brothers, painting is the agent that aids in the recording of their silent dialog and mutually opens collaboration, allowing for a brief moment entrance into their shared visionary world. “Zhou Brothers: Early Fantasy” is the result of more than a fascinating success story, it is an intimate insight into the birth and the embodiment of a dream. A dream that continues to remain constant in light of a changing world.

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