Yun-Fei Ji was raised in China during the Cultural Revolution. Separated from his parents at the age of two, Ji grew up on a collective farm outside Hangzhou where, in the absence of TV and radio, he was kept entertained by his grandmother’s telling of ghost stories and folk tales. At the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, Ji studied traditional painting techniques with mineral pigments on mulberry paper in the style of Song Dynasty landscape painting. After relocating to the United States in 1986 on a fellowship from Fulbright College at the University of Arkansas, Ji found his voice as an artist who reinvents the system of symbolic structures found in classical Chinese painting to expose the dark side of industrial development on contemporary life. As Ji states, “I use landscape painting to explore the utopian dreams of Chinese history, from past collectivization to new consumerism.”
Yun-Fei Ji was born in 1963 in Beijing, China. He earned his BFA from the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing and his MFA from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in Fayetteville, Arkansas. In 2005, Ji was Artist-in-residence at Yale University where he conducted extensive research with the institution’s scholars. He received the 2006 American Academy Prix de Rome Fellowship and Residency and was also later the 2007 Artist-in-residence at the Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art in London. Ji’s work has been presented in solo museum exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis; Rose Museum at Brandeis University, Waltham; Peeler Art Center, DePauw University, Greencastle; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. In 2012, Ji’s work was the subject of a solo presentation at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, China.
Ji’s work has been exhibited in solo and group shows throughout the United States and Europe including the 2012 Biennale of Sydney, the 2011 Lyon Biennale, and the 2002 Whitney Biennial. In early 2016, the Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum presented Yun-Fei Ji: The Intimate Universe, a solo exhibition of the artist’s work, curated by Tracy Adler. The show travelled to Honolulu Museum of Art. He presented a new scroll for the Prospect 3 New Orleans biennial curated by Franklin Sirmans, which took place in October 2014. Additionally his work was included in the group exhibition Unscrolled: Reframing Tradition in Chinese Contemporary Art at the Vancouver Art Gallery from late 2014 to early 2015. In 2008, his work was featured in Displacement: the Three Gorges Dam and Contemporary Chinese Art, an exhibition of four Chinese artists which originated at the Smart Museum of Art, Chicago, Illinois and toured nationally. His work has been featured in publications including The New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, Modern Painters, and Artforum, and in major public collections such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn. Yun-Fei Ji currently lives and works between New York, NY and Ohio.