YAN Lei was born in Hebei Province, China in 1965, and graduated from the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts (now known as the China Academy of Art), in Hangzhou, in 1991. Yan is a singular and unconventional figure in the Chinese contemporary art world. Adopting an independent and distant attitude, he explores and unveils different issues, such as power relationship, competition or the closeness of values and prices, that exist in the art system, through various media ranging from painting, sculpture, installation to video and performance. His works often incorporate multiple and often contradictory values. This ambiguousness shows, on the one hand, the artist’s alertness to and reflection on the various problems in art making today, and on the other, the solitude that he has from being part of the system and his complex feelings confronted with vulgar reality.
YAN Lei has participated in a great numbers of international exhibitions, including Istanbul Biennial, Guangzhou Triennial, Sao Paulo Biennale, Kwangju Biennale, Shanghai Biennial, Venice Biennale, etc. He has also had solo exhibitions in museums such as the Hong Kong Art Centre, the UCCA Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, and the Aspen Art Museum in Colorado in the United States. In 2002, YAN Lei was awarded ‘Best Artist’ by the C.C.A.A. (Chinese Contemporary Art Awards). He was invited to take part in Documenta in Kassel, Germany, in 2007 and 2012.
颜磊参加过多项国际大型展览，包括伊斯坦布尔双年展、广州三年展、圣保罗双年展、光州双年展、上海双年展、威尼斯双年展。香港艺术中心、北京尤伦斯当代艺术中心(UCCA)和美国科罗拉多州阿斯蓬美术馆(Aspen Art Museum) 分别举办过颜磊的个展。2002年获中国当代艺术奖(CCAA)最杰出艺术家奖，2007和2012年连续两次获邀参加德国卡塞尔文件展(Documenta）。