Zhang Yu was born in Tianjin, China in 1959 and graduated from the Tianjin Academy of Arts and Crafts in 1988.
Throughout his artistic career he has been engaged with the language of art and experimental ink painting, contributing to and reforming the discursive boundaries of ink art. His early series, Divine Light, became internationally recognized when they were included in the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition, Ink Art: Past As Present in Contemporary China, in 2013. The artist is also well known for his Fingerprint and installation works, which have been exhibited in major exhibitions in China, Taiwan, Europe and America.
His works have been collected by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China; Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong; Benetton Museum, Venice, Italy; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark; Chinese Culture Center, San Francisco, USA.