“My work-I want to give people a positive feeling, a happy feeling. Now the world is quite negative. I want people to look at my work and feel happy in that.”
-Zhuang Hong Yi
Zhuang Hong Yi is one of China’s most influential artists with a broad international following across Europe and Asia. His floral motifs are in various private and museum collections around the world, including the Museum of Sichuan Fine Art in China and the Groninger and Stadsmuseum Zoetermeer in the Netherlands. Hong Yi’s concern with environmental issues is reflected in his repetitive use of floral patterns, highlighting the increasing population of his home country, depopulation of the rural environment, and plundering natural resources.
Hong Yi moved to the Netherlands in the 1990s. Running through his work is a thread that links both cultures: a love of flowers. The Netherlands’ relationship with flowers is well documented by the renowned tulip mania of the Dutch Golden Age during the 17th century. Conversely, in China, flowers are uniquely symbolic, representing growth, fulfillment, prosperous beginnings, and manifesting good chi. Each type of flower has its distinct relevance. Chrysanthemums and the Lotus flowers, signifiers of metaphysical purity and strength, are recurrent throughout Hong Yi’s work.
The artist works in two dominant yet distinct mediums. His Flowerbed series contains painstakingly folded origami rice-paper flowers covered in color-shifting layers of acrylic and oil paint. The more traditional painting series uses acrylic in heavily sculpted and gestural impasto with unfolded rice-paper flowers.
Zhuang Hong Yi’s work can be found internationally in public and private collections, including New York, Abu Dhabi, Morocco, Denmark, London, Geneva, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Beirut.