ZHUANG Xiaowei was born in Beijing, China in 1957. He is the patriarch and oldest of the artists.
Zhuang's contribution to the Contemporary Chinese Glass Sculpture scene is central to its creation. It was Zhuang who not only learned the skills in Wolverhampton University in the U.K to educate new students in China, but he also effected the purchase of machinery from defunct glass factories in the United Kingdom and set up the first glass studio in China, in the city of Shanghai. Today the Shanghai glass studio is the most established and well developed in China. Vanessa Lee Taub, Director of Galerie Vee, is honored and proud to have been instrumental in being the first gallery to expose Professor Zhuang's work and that of his studio to the international glass sculpture scene.
In Zhuang's work we see contrast. In contrast with the austere times of the Cultural Revolution, Zhuang's energies focus on beauty, vibrancy and lyricism. In his essay, The Vision of Poetry, Zhuang confesses that for him his glass sculptures "describe the world in the way a poem does. Sculpture is the language of life itself." (sic). Zhuang is indeed a poet in glass. His grandmother, who was a well-known Chinese poet influenced his experience of the world and his life. Today he considers his works to be a physical embodiment of his poetry, his message.
Interestingly Zhuang's traditional Chinese concepts and values are solidified in highly contemporary forms, influenced by contemporary architecture of a thriving and modern Shanghai. His theme of a traditional Chinese 'rice-picking melody' forms the basis of his play with color and light in his Grey Flute series. Zhuang's elongated 'Flutes' tower into the sky vibrantly as the melodies float upwards. Fung Shui elements such as the circle and the flow of air are introduced, allowing the fluidity of balance to pass through his artworks. His commentary on the ability for coexistence of history and modern China defy the Cultural Revolution period in which he grew up where history and education were rejected as elitist and bourgeois.
Zhuang Xiaowei is pivotal to the development and continuity of the Contemporary Chinese Glass Sculpture scene.
He has been exhibited in Galerie Vee in Hong Kong and the United States since 2005 when his work and his role were first identified by Vanessa Lee Taub, Director of Galerie Vee and pioneer of the Contemporary Chinese Glass Sculpture scene.
His past exhibitions with Galerie Vee include Wealth in Creativity in 2008, SOFA Chicago, Galerie Vee in collaboration with Leo Kaplan Modern Gallery New York, China Rises: Orientation in 2006, Dialogue of 8 in 2006, China Rises: The Evolution in 2006, and Explorations: Opposites Attract in 2006.
Museum collections include the Alexander Tutsek-Stiftung Museum in Munich, Germany and currently, he has work under review for a British Museum.
Further reading: ZHUANG Xiaowei is included in the publication China Rises: China's Contemporary Sculpture in Glass published by Galerie Vee ISBN 988-99525-0-5.