Xuan paper, cotton thread, bamboo, and stones
Gift of Zhu Jinshi and Pearl Lam Gallery in honor of Wu Hung, jointly acquired by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago
Expansive yet delicate, this work is primarily composed of xuan paper, a traditional material that has been used by Chinese painters and calligraphers for over a millennium. To construct Wave of Materials, Zhu Jinshi employs a large team to carefully crumple, flatten, and then hang the sheets from the ceiling. Each piece of paper is custom made in a rural Chinese paper mill from elm bark, rice, or bamboo. In this configuration, thousands of these sheets engulf the viewer in a sea of paper intended to provide a meditative encounter.
Self-trained, Zhu first began using xuan paper as a material for sculpture and installation in the late 1980s, while living in Berlin. Upon his return to Beijing in 1993, he filled entire rooms with stacks of the paper. Since these early experiments, his works have become more refined, methodical, and process-based.