Hu Jieming is one of the pioneering artists of digital media and video installation art in today's China. One of his main focuses is the co-existence of the old and the new, a theme he constantly comments upon and questions with a variety of media including photography, video, digital interactive technology and architectural juxtapositions with musical comments.
In his highly acclaimed photo-manipulated series “Raft of the Medusa” (2002), he references Theodore's Gericault's allegorical 1819 painting by the same title. The historical painting serves as a mytho-poetic memorial to the 150 souls lost onboard the raft after a fatal shipwreck that spared only 15 survivors. The painting subverts the 19th Century heroic aesthetic of historic paintings by portraying a society in collapse. Hu Jieming draws a parallel between the social demise portrayed in Gericault’s “Medusa” and the Cultural Revolution. Hu Jieming’s “Medusa,” thus, is more than just a reference to the past; the photos allude to today’s excess consumerism and advertisement imagery. Hu Jieming also juxtaposes pictures of today's youth engaging in hedonistic acts with monochrome grey pictures of suppressed people in traditional Mao uniforms. These compositions made of images appropriated from different socio-political realities signify a strong critical engagement with both history and the present – it is a concern that ranges beyond pure private considerations.
Hu Jieming was born in 1957 in Shanghai. He graduated from Shanghai Light Industry College, Fine Art Department in 1984. He resides and works in Shanghai. Hu Jieming has exhibited widely. Recent shows include The Thirteen: Chinese Video Art Now, P.S.1 (New York, 2006), Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China, (various cities in the US, UK and Germany, 2005-2005), Zooming into Focus, National Art Museum (Beijing, 2005), In their 40's, ShanghART Gallery, H-Space (2005) and 5th Shanghai Biennale: Techniques of the Visible, Shanghai Art Museum (2004).