This oil painting portrays the landscape viewed from the window of Zhang Wei’s apartment, where members of the No Name Group, an underground collective of artists in Beijing who sought to create art freely, had discussions and where they held their first exhibition in the mid-1970s. The view depicts a tall, light pink apartment block with bluish-grey windows at right and, at left, the sloping roof of a house partially covered by the railing, trees, and a cloudy sky. The brushstrokes loosely render the forms, giving the painting an impressionistic quality. The colours suggest a dark, private interior, and a light-filled exterior. Zhang intended to contrast the warmth of the apartment with the cool harshness of the political reality outside—the work was painted during the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976), when official art was used to serve political aims. The painting is characteristic of Zhang’s early works, which are largely still lifes and landscapes. In the 1980s, he developed a spontaneous, gestural, and abstract style of painting.
Zhang Wei (born 1952, Beijing) was a member of the No Name Group in the 1980s, during which time he pioneered conceptual landscape painting as a form of resistance against the politically charged realism of the era. His vision for a pure art and experimentation in nonrepresentational painting anchors the development of Chinese contemporary art. Zhang lives and works in Beijing.