Zeng Fanzhi (b. 1964)
This Lot has been sourced from overseas. When au… Read more
Zeng Fanzhi (b. 1964)

Untitled 07-5

Details
Zeng Fanzhi (b. 1964)
Untitled 07-5
signed in Chinese, signed 'Zeng Fanzhi' in Pinyin; dated '2007' (lower right)
oil on canvas
200 x 200 cm. (78 3/4 x 78 3/4 in.)
Painted in 2007
Literature
Singapore Art Museum, Zeng Fanzhi: Idealism , Singapore, 2007
Special notice

This Lot has been sourced from overseas. When auctioned, such property will remain under “bond” with the applicable import customs duties and taxes being deferred unless and until the property is brought into free circulation in the PRC. Prospective buyers are reminded that after paying for such lots in full and cleared funds, if they wish to import the lots into the PRC, they will be responsible for and will have to pay the applicable import customs duties and taxes. The rates of import customs duty and tax are based on the value of the goods and the relevant customs regulations and classifications in force at the time of import.

Lot Essay

Since 2000, Zeng Fanzhi has entered into a new creative stage. A dramatic departure from the figurative and prudent style of the Hospital series and Mask series, his creative process shifted to abstraction by painting with frenzied lines. He invented the chaotic strokes technique by using two brushes simultaneously: while one brush is constructing images, the other brush is changing what is being painted. As a result, destruction is an integral part of creation. Yet amongst the chaotic changes, the original delineation and brushstrokes are still preserved. Through the counteraction between the deliberate and the improvise brushwork, order is created out of disorder, gain is obtained through loss, diffusion occurs during coalescence. Zeng Fanzhi calls this contradictory yet harmonious creative process "the subconscious' response to inspiration". This new artistic style is his decision to revive and continue the lineage of the traditional Chinese calligraphy and ink painting by emphasizing the brushwork and conception. Using the texture and the power of expression in the oil medium, he tells a sentimental story about nature and personal emotions.

Untitled 07-5 (Lot 27) is testimony to this sentimental journey: layers upon layers of withering trees crisscross against sprawling branches that extend skyward. The gloomy heavens are made more solemn by the melancholic blue. The twisted and broken branches made the somber scene even more tragic. Yet, they signify a resilient life force. The roses at the bottom of the picture exude allure and passion. The mysterious glow in the sky represents a sense of hope and anticipation. This strange, yet familiar scene gives the viewer a certain kind of insight. Zeng explains, "This is not a real scene. It is a divine experience. It is not normal knowledge. It is not connected to rationality either. It is a kind of insight and vision. But this insight is not an image of reality. It is a kind of creation. It reveals a new, yet familiar world that is deeply buried within oneself." This coincidentally echoes the sentiments of the Chinese literati painting, "The light heart brush sketches the light-heartedness in one's breast". Such painting is not the mere objective representation of nature en plein air. It is a valiant expression of the artist's sentiments and state of mind via landscape.

The treatment and use of lines is another characteristic of Zeng Fanzhi's chaotic strokes. In Chinese ink painting, not only are lines the fundamental element in the picture, they are traces of emotional expression. His use of line has integrated the cadence of the Chinese cursive script. It also possesses the formal logic of action painting and Abstract Expressionism. His lines are full of exquisitely wild agility, but they also embody an air of haughty rationality. The tension in the lines makes the two-dimensional plane appears to be multi-layered. The depth and expanse of the picture are stretched to infinity. "In these paintings, the darting lines have detached from the simple function of delineation. They have become the subject of the painting expression itself." (Wu Hong, 2010 Zeng Fanzhi, 2010)

The landscape of Zeng Fanzhi is filled with the poetic feeling of solitude, yet it always contains a strong sense of life force. The painting incorporates both the concepts of "ancient tree in a frigid forest" in Chinese aesthetic and philosophical symbolism in the western Romanticism. Not restrained by any rules or ideology, he has constructed a new visual language and completed a transformation for contemporary painting.

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