This oil painting depicts a landscape with a winding road lined by trees. A road sign, portrayed by a bright red circle atop a red-and-white pole stands out against the muted tones of greys, browns, and greens. The brushstrokes loosely render forms, giving the painting an impressionistic quality. This work was painted during the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976), when official art in China was used to serve political aims. Zhang Wei and other members of the No Name Group, an underground collective of artists in Beijing in the 1970s, often painted natural scenery outdoors. The small size of the work is typical of their paintings at the time, as they had to avoid detection during this illicit activity. The painting is characteristic of Zhang’s early works, which were 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.