Of Water

17 Jun – 5 Sep 2021

TMH presents the second solo show of ZHU HONG. Her stirring, tour-de-force paintings and drawings on the subject of water shine with meaning in this familiar, often politicized territory. Starting with photography as an objectifying tool, Zhu Hong makes her observations resurface as painterly matter, coalesced in the image of water as a life-giving source. She has spent the pandemic extending this series in preparation for her show Les lignes de l’eau [Water Lines] at the Arts Museum of Nantes, scheduled for July 2021 – January 2022.

Limited edition print, Sep 2021

Meet the artist (with Amsterdam Art Week), 19 June 2021

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Zhu Hong’s portrayal of water is distinctly her own, in keeping with her probing, unwavering attitude to art and life. A highly praised young artist in China, she took a career risk in 2003 by moving to France. And she continues to defy convention in these works: the play of pared down strokes, high precision lines, and accidental drips and stains displace our perception of the crafted and the elemental.

Based on Zhu Hong’s intense photographic research performed on location—the recent Kunstmuseum 1558 is a painted ode to a murky morning in The Hague; the immense pencil work Atlantique takes note of an observed flood of light on the ocean shore; and the small, purple-shadowed Amstel drawings recover impressions of September walks along the river and the origin of the water theme—each work is an electrifying union of subject matter and chosen technique. Amid current anxieties, they stand out as daringly elegiac in form. Fragile and soft-spoken, they insist on the immensity of experience and vital urgency we associate with shimmering light and clear water.

The project began in Amsterdam during Zhu Hong’s stay for the first TMH exhibition. She says she immersed herself in the layered city, both as an artist and an observer. She now makes a direct link to that time with an in-situ painting inspired by her Amstel drawings. An exemplar of her museum intervention practice—she will also be making an in-situ work at the Arts Museum of Nantes this summer—the TMH mural is a performative, jazz-like piece in the gallery’s courtyard passage. This courtyard on the Herengracht was originally the location of a 17th-century water well that served generations of households. Seemingly abstract, the painting partakes of its location and becomes a sparkling ephemeral reflection on the essential significance of water in everyday life.


Zhu Hong (1975, FR born CN) moved to France to counterbalance her training in Shanghai. Her solo museum shows included Musée de La Roche-sur-Yon (accompanied by the monograph 3M2 de lumière, published by Lienart Éditions, Paris, 2017) and the Pôle Internationale de la Préhistoire in Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Dijon, and the Musée Ziem in Martigues. Zhu Hong featured in the Making Things Happen: Young Artists in Dialogue cycle at TMH in 2017-18. Her work continues to receive increased attention, notably including a solo feature at the Art on Paper fair in Brussels, 2019, with SinArts Gallery, NL, and the two-part solo show Les lignes de l’eau [Water Lines] at the Arts Museum of Nantes (Musée d’Arts de Nantes), scheduled for July 2021 – January 2022. Zhu Hong lives and works in Nantes, FR.