Yun-fei Ji’s work emphasizes the critical relationship between the land and its people and how that balance is being challenged by current social, political, ecological, and economic shifts. His compositions are inspired by his own fieldwork in rural areas throughout China’s countryside, where entire villages face forced relocation to make way for ambitious infrastructural projects such as the Three Gorges Dam. Using the centuries-old tradition of ink painting as a point of departure, he contrasts the ideals of that tradition to the gritty realities of the modernization process.
He earned his BFA from the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing and his MFA from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in Fayetteville, Arkansas. In 2005, Ji was Artist-in-residence at Yale University where he conducted extensive research with the institution’s scholars. He received the 2006 American Academy Prix de Rome Fellowship and Residency and was also later the 2007 Artist-in-residence at the Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art in London. Ji’s work has been exhibited in solo and group shows throughout the United States, Europe and Asia, including the 2014 Shanghai Biennial, 2012 Biennale of Sydney, the 2011 Lyon Biennale, the 2002 Whitney Biennial, and the Prospect 3 New Orleans Biennial. Solo museum exhibitions include the Cleveland Museum of Art, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, the Hilliard University Art Museum , Wellin Museum at Hamilton College, Honolulu Museum of Art, The Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis, the Rose Museum at Brandeis University, the Peeler Art Center at DePauw University, and the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.
Most recently his work was featured at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His most recent monograph, "Yun-fei Ji: The Intimate Universe," has received the annual Award for Excellence at the Association of Art Museum Curators. Selected group exhibitions include "Unscrolled: Reframing Tradition in Chinese Contemporary Art" at the Vancouver Art Gallery; and "Displacement: the Three Gorges Dam and Contemporary Chinese Art," an exhibition of four Chinese artists which originated at the Smart Museum of Art, Chicago, Illinois and toured nationally.
His work has been featured in publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, the New Yorker, Modern Painters, and Artforum, and in major public collections such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn.
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