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Zeng Fanzhi

November 20, 2012–January 19, 2013
Britannia Street, London

Installation view Artwork © Zeng Fanzhi Studio. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view

Artwork © Zeng Fanzhi Studio. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view  Artwork © Zeng Fanzhi Studio. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view

Artwork © Zeng Fanzhi Studio. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view  Artwork © Zeng Fanzhi Studio. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view

Artwork © Zeng Fanzhi Studio. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view  Artwork © Zeng Fanzhi Studio. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view

Artwork © Zeng Fanzhi Studio. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view  Artwork © Zeng Fanzhi Studio. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view

Artwork © Zeng Fanzhi Studio. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view  Artwork © Zeng Fanzhi Studio. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view

Artwork © Zeng Fanzhi Studio. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view Artwork © Zeng Fanzhi Studio. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view

Artwork © Zeng Fanzhi Studio. Photo: Mike Bruce

Works Exhibited

Zeng Fanzhi, Hare, 2012 Oil on canvas, in 2 parts; overall: 157 ½ × 157 ½ inches (400 × 400 cm)© Zeng Fanzhi Studio

Zeng Fanzhi, Hare, 2012

Oil on canvas, in 2 parts; overall: 157 ½ × 157 ½ inches (400 × 400 cm)
© Zeng Fanzhi Studio

Zeng Fanzhi, Head of an Old Man, 2012 Oil on canvas, in 2 parts, overall: 157 ½ × 157 ½ inches (400 × 400 cm)© Zeng Fanzhi Studio

Zeng Fanzhi, Head of an Old Man, 2012

Oil on canvas, in 2 parts, overall: 157 ½ × 157 ½ inches (400 × 400 cm)
© Zeng Fanzhi Studio

Zeng Fanzhi, Praying Hands, 2012 Oil on canvas, in 2 parts, overall: 157 ½ × 157 ½ inches (400 × 400 cm)© Zeng Fanzhi Studio

Zeng Fanzhi, Praying Hands, 2012

Oil on canvas, in 2 parts, overall: 157 ½ × 157 ½ inches (400 × 400 cm)
© Zeng Fanzhi Studio

Zeng Fanzhi, The Christ Child, 2012 Oil on canvas, 59 × 59 inches (150 × 150 cm)© Zeng Fanzhi Studio

Zeng Fanzhi, The Christ Child, 2012

Oil on canvas, 59 × 59 inches (150 × 150 cm)
© Zeng Fanzhi Studio

Zeng Fanzhi, Untitled, 2012 Oil on canvas, 78 ¾ × 157 ½ inches (200 × 400 cm)© Zeng Fanzhi Studio

Zeng Fanzhi, Untitled, 2012

Oil on canvas, 78 ¾ × 157 ½ inches (200 × 400 cm)
© Zeng Fanzhi Studio

About

They are not real landscapes. They are rather about an experience of miao wu [marvellous revelation]. Miao wu constitutes a restless journey of discovery.
—Zeng Fanzhi

Gagosian is pleased to present new paintings by Zeng Fanzhi, his first exhibition at the London gallery, following the Hong Kong exhibition last year.

Zeng’s aesthetic restlessness epitomizes the evolution of Chinese contemporary art in the post-1989 era, grappling with local history and tradition in the face of external influence and accelerated change. Since the beginning of his career, he has presented a succession of powerfully introspective subjects, from the haunting Hospital paintings to the visceral Meat paintings that juxtapose human subjects with butchered flesh; from the enigmatic Mask paintings to candid and startling close-up portraits; from intimate, existential still-lifes to depictions of pivotal Western cultural figures such as Francis Bacon, whose psychic portraits altered the status of the human figure in twentieth-century art. Charged with an underlying psychological tension, Zeng’s oeuvre reveals the place of the unconscious and the aberrant in the construction of human experience.

For the past decade, landscape has been a central focus of Zeng’s art. In his highly tactile scenes, the details of representation often overlap seamlessly with qualities of abstraction, as in certain traditional Chinese aesthetic objects. All are expressionistically rendered with extraordinary attention to the material nuances of the painted surface. In densely worked paintings such as Pure Land (2012) and Untitled (2012), gnarled branches crisscross over dark terrain, accented with swaths of white, teal, violet, and rose. Zeng’s fictitious place is at once luminous and bleak—unearthly bursts of vivid color are trapped in snaking brambles that obstruct yet hold the gaze. Filled with brushwork that is both refined and heavily textured, the thick surfaces underscore the physicality of Zeng’s painting process. Against these haunting landscapes, the bare yet resilient trees that survive in such harsh conditions hold the promise of renewal and rebirth.

Several works in the exhibition are inspired by the sketches of Albrecht Dürer. In a reversal of conventional East/West aesthetics, Zeng reinterprets Dürer’s intricate imagery and thin, precise brushstrokes—which resonate with traditional Chinese painting—with thick strokes of oil paint layered with a broad brush. In The Hare (2012) and Head of an Old Man (2012), the rabbit fur of the former and the flowing white beard of the latter are rendered as masses of carefully delineated, yet aggressively and broadly executed brushstrokes. In his interpretation of Dürer’s drawing Praying Hands (1508)—an iconic image that has been endlessly disseminated and reproduced—Zeng moves beyond the overt symbolism of hands clasped in prayer, intent on rendering the nuances of aging flesh in highly textured impasto.

那些不是眼目所及的风景,而是内心世界的映射。这种瞬间的妙悟是一趟精神上无止尽的探求之旅。
—曾梵志

高古轩画廊继去年在香港举行曾梵志个人展览后,有幸在伦敦首次展示中国著名艺术家曾梵志的最新作品。

曾梵志对美学永无休止的追求,代表了1989年以后,中国当代艺术在外来影响和遽变下,与中国历史及传统角力后产生的演变 曾梵志投身艺术界以来,呈献无数引人深思的作品,比如震撼人心的《协和医院》系列,把人体与鲜肉并列的《肉》系列,神秘的《面具》系列,面露讶异的头像和充满存在主义感觉的静物画,还有培根等西方文化先躯的肖像。培根怪异的肖像画改变了人像在二十世纪艺术的地位,而曾梵志的作品充满精神张力,揭示了构建人类体验中无意识和偏离正轨的一面

过去十年,曾梵志以创作风景画为主 他描绘的风景充满质感,细节完美结合了抽象主义的特质,与若干传统中国美学主体相似 他以表现主义的手法作画,非常讲究画作表面颜料的细微变化 在《无题》(2012年)里,大片的白色、青色、紫色和玫瑰红衬托着深色背景上纵横交错的枝桠 曾梵志构想的世界既明亮又荒凉,鲜艳的色彩困在荆棘里,挡住视线,同时又惹人注目 他的笔触细腻而充满质感,厚实的表面强调了绘画的过程。在诡异慑人的风景里,能在恶劣环境下生存的秃树,带有重生的希望

本次部分展出的画作灵感源自阿尔布雷特•丢勒的素描 曾梵志一反传统的东西美学,以粗画笔涂上厚厚的颜料,重新演绎丢勒细致复杂的画面和精准纤细的笔触,呼应中国的传统水墨画 《兔子》(2012年)里的兔毛和《智者》(2012年)里的白胡子虽然笔触粗犷,轮廓却非常细致 在曾梵志的笔下,丢勒最广为流传和临摹的作品《祈祷》(1508年),超越了双手紧握祈祷的表征意义,极具质感的厚颜料还呈现衰老时肉体的细微变化

From the Quarterly