Self-Imprisonment and Freedom: Yu Zhenli in His Eighteen Years of Living in the Mountains

Editors’ Notes:

On May 10, 2022, Mr. Yu Zhenli passed away, aged 73, in his studio in Dahei Mountain, Dalian. On this occasion of the first anniversary, Art Frontier presents a series of research articles about the artist Yu Zhenli, introducing his artistic career in stages and directions.

As an artist, Yu Zhenli is difficult to define who takes a unique case in the history of Chinese contemporary art. In the 1970s, he was a well-known propaganda painter; After reform and opening-up, Yu Zhenli continued to create the amount of excellent avant-garde artworks in the second wave of modernism in China; Since the late 1980s, he gradually shifted to experimental creations focused on abstract art; On December 26, 1994, Yu Zhenli moved his studio into the farmhouse in Dahei Mountain and built his house based the original three bungalows, the act of construction that continued until his death. Throughout his artistic career, Yu Zhenli also promoted the development of contemporary art for youth in Dalian through unceasing personal grants.

In this issue, we review Yu Zhenlis artistic career with a commentary by Liu Xiaochun and introduce the early stage from propaganda to abstract expressionist paintings with a memoir organized by the Yu Zhenli Art Museum.