Zhang Jie

Zhang Jie's self-portraits reflect a fascinating, very personal journey. They are much more than a simple reflection of the artist's physical appearance. Zhang describes the process of painting and something like "talking to myself" and an effort to be "true to myself" in her artistic exploration. Looking closely at the details in the artist-model's paintings reveals that her works are in fact an exploration of the artist's own self and inner psyche. 'Narcissism is the common attribute of my artwork... I want to anatomize myself with scissors in my hands, to analyze myself as a female artist, a woman and a human being,' proclaims Zhang Jie

Zhang's paintings focus exclusively on the artist's own figure, blocking out external things just about completely. So raw and naked is her work that one feels almost voyeuristic looking at the portraits. Virtually every one of Zhang Jie's paintings have flat, blue or purple backgrounds, making the artist-model herself the entire focus of each piece, and removing the artist from her surroundings, placing her in an isolated, empty, solitary world. In some images, it looks almost as if Zhang is posing like an uneasy fashion model, seemingly imagining herself in a photo shoot; yet she maintains her dreamy, aloof and sometimes almost anxious expression on her face. Sometimes an external object will appear in Zhang's paintings, such as a rose in her mouth or hand or a part of a chair that she is sitting on. The artist exaggerates the size of her own eyes, as if asking the viewers to look deeply into them, with the dark colours encircling them, and her clothes and hair are painted as if they are worn-out. Yet invariably, Zhang portrays herself as someone who has, what the artist herself admits: "sad eyes and a face that has never been happy." The figures, whether looking intensely out at the viewer (looking at the artist herself when she is painting them) or un-enthusiastically looking off the side of the canvas, all have an impression of contemplation and concurrently boredom, seemingly as if the artist was expecting more from life, but has been somewhat let down. "What I almost invariably see" says Zhang, "is indifference and strife". This is certainly not a happy outlook. These feelings are probably not things that the artist discusses with or even reveals to her friends and family directly, yet she has an outlet in which she can express them in her artwork. She can reveal the truth to herself in her work as a "kind of self-preservation"

But what brings these feelings to Zhang Jie? What is causing the "negativity" that she, too, senses in her own self-portraits? Why does the artist appear ill-at-ease in her own works? Crucially interlinked in the artist's exploration of the self is her relationship to the world around her. Zhang Jie says that she is projecting the "feelings of our generation: boldness, rebellion, discovery, narcissism, imagination, stimulation, displacement and anxiety." She is well aware of the stresses that individuals face in today's world - the financial demands, the pressure to be physically attractive, the general rapid pace that propels our lives forward, etc. These things can all be overwhelming and can lead to feelings of helplessness and/or frustration. Zhang Jie is one of the few people to take the time to reflect on what it means to exist in modern society, and her paintings provide her with a sort of cathartic experience, helping her to release pent-up emotions; sharing her anxieties so openly enables her to come to terms with them

'Contemporary art,' says Zhang Jie, 'is up-to-date because of its sensitivity towards and insight of our surroundings and because of our dauntless expressiveness.' The artist's own work reflect this philosophy. Her self-portraits provide an opportunity for the artist to intensely study herself, to see beyond the figure in the mirror and reveal her own internal soul-searching

Zhang Jie - Artist's Statement

Elementary facts, such as shape, colour and medium, are powerful and explain so much. Figures which are true to life tell much more than a thousand words, although in fact they can't say a word. Colours are voiced and always floating like music, continually emerging in front of your eyes and murmuring to your ears, far more than what you get at the first glance

The subjects in my paintings are blue, sensitive, timid, narcissistic, skeptical and lonely, but full of desire. They resist the encroaching civilization outside, entirely enjoy and comfort themselves

I'd like to leave some things for my viewers' imagination. The figures in my paintings have external




Born in Chongqing China


Graduated From the Painting Department of Sichuan Fine Arts Academy with a Bachelor Degree, Chongqing, China


Graduated from the Oil Department of Sichuan Fine Arts Academy with a Master Degree, Chongqing China

Selected Solo Exhibitions


Zhang Jie Solo Exhibition, Art Scene China, Shanghai, China


Zhang Jie Solo Exhibition, Art Scene China, Shanghai, China

Selected Group Exhibitions


"Vision, Tales of Xindu" Chengdu Youth Contemporary Artists Exhibition, Xindu Art Museum, Chengdu, China


Her Vision, Soemo Fine Arts, Beijing, China


Eyes Talk·Zhang Jie & Hu Ke Exhibition, Anni Art, Beijing 798, China


Art Shenzhen·The 3rd Contemporary Art Festival-Southern Collector Annual Exhibition, GeFeng Art Center, Shenzhen, China

The Excellence Works Review Exhibition of the Chinese Cutting-edge Artists Award , Duolun Modern Art Museum, Shanghai, China

Conversation·The 1st Western China Contemporary Art Exhibition, Changan Contemporary Art Museum, Chongqing, China

The Chinese Context·Chongqing Station, International Art Festival of Huangjueping, Chongqing, China

108 Spring Artistic Sharon, Chongqing, China


Cologne International Art Fair, Cologne, Germany

Creativity is a Virtue, Art Scene China, Shanghai, China

Art Fever·The Chinese Contemporary Art Exhibition, Art Scene China, Shanghai, China


Chinese Art Goes to New York, Art Scene New York, USA

Cologne Art Fair, Cologne, Germany

China Art Galleries Fair, Shanghai, China

501 Art Exhibition, 501 Contemporary Art Museum, Chongqing, China

International Contemporary Art Exhibition·Shanghai Art Fair, Shanghai, China

Southern Dream·The 1st Season, GeFeng Art Center, Shenzhen, China

Zhang Jie & Hu Ke Artworks Exhibition, Art Scene China, Beijing, China


The 37th Miami Basel Art Fair, USA

Art Beijing, Beijing, China

Selfhood·Trueness, New Millennium Gallery, Beijing 798, China

The Nominated Outstanding Works of the National Academy Arts Undergraduate Exhibition, Today Art Museum, Beijing, China

The Postgraduate Students Artworks Exhibition 2003·Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts, Chongqing Art Museum, Chongqing, China

The Rights of Individuals·Young Artists Exhibition, Author Gallery, Shanghai, China

April Grass, Nanjing Museum, China


Chinese Cutting-edge Artists Awards Exhibition, Hong Kong

Dragon Airlines, Art Scene China, Shanghai, China

Chinese·Korean Excellence Art Works Exchange Exhibition, won A Excellence Award, Chongqing, China

The 10th Anniversary Art Exhibition of Chongqing Women Painting and Calligraphy Association, The Third Prize, Chongqing, China


Lowercase I, Jinse Gallery, Chongqing, China

Chinese International Galleries Exposition, Beijing, China

The 2nd Shanghai Spring Art Salon, Shanghai, China


The 1st Shanghai Spring Art Salon, Awarded as Excellent Young Artist, Shanghai, China

Undergraduate Excellent Works Exhibition, Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts, Awarded of Excellence Works, Chongqing Museum, China

Youth is the Power, Shanghai + Chongqing, China