Huang Rui is one of China’s most highly regarded artists as one of the main protagonists of the first Chinese non-conformist art groups.
Indeed, he was a founding member of the art group The Stars (Xing Xing). This groundbreaking movement of amateur artists, active from 1979 to 1983, was the first publicly active art collective to protest government censorship after the Cultural Revolution. It included artists Wang Keping, Ai Weiwei, Ma Desheng, and Li Shuang.
Huang Rui, in his work, succeed in combining extreme intellect with highly sensitive and personal approach. His works are characterized by symmetry and simplicity of form and their meticulously finished. Within a minimalist exterior hides mountains of meanings and connotations stemming from ancient Chinese philosophy, modern-day communist hypocrisy, or current society’s middling obsessions. For Huang Rui, art’s function is to be a reflection of society and must to addressing contemporary concerns. In that way, he was often controversial artist and he has faced censorship from the Chinese government.
Huang Rui has been considered the major vocal advocate of the 798 Art Zone in Beijing. He was instrumental in the establishment of the art district in 2002, and in efforts to protect the area from demolition in 2004 and 2005. In 2006, 798 became the first state-recognized and protected art district in China. This success was due in a large part to Huang Rui’s efforts to promote the district through the Dashanzi International Art Festivals (DIAF) and his book Beijing798.