The authenticity of this work has kindly been confirmed by the artist.
Born in China, but French by adoption, Zao Wou-Ki clearly has a complex identity. His signature, which gives his first name in Chinese characters and his last in a Western orthography, is a testimony to this complexity. It is emblematic of a stranded cultural identity which has been widely recognised as the key to his artistic direction. While his paintings are sometimes reminiscent of works by French Post-War artists such as Jean Fautrier and Henri Michaux, the voids and calligraphic build-up of oils on the canvas are evidence of his Chinese background. Zao Wou-Ki's abstract works have been inspired specifically by Chinese calligraphy and landscape painting and have set him apart from the other artists of his circle - Mitchell, Riopelle, Vieira da Silva and Soulages. He ingeniously introduces elements of traditional aesthetic into his work, aided by ancient Chinese traditions in his expression of substantive subjects through abstraction. Seeing his contemporary works alongside traditional Chinese scrolls one is immediately struck by the close aesthetic relationship between them. In 31.1.62, the artist has created a strange and stormy mindscape packed with gesture and action - like the brushstrokes, the title appears to record ethereality itself.