Acquavella Galleries presents Chinese contemporary artist Zeng Fanzhi’s first solo exhibition in the United States. The show consists of twenty oil on canvas works, both portraiture and landscape painting. The majority of these pieces have never been shown to the public before. Fanzhi’s oeuvre is a manifestation of personal feelings, the people that surround him and his daily encounters. Early in his artistic development, German Expressionism largely influenced Fanzhi’s aesthetic, but his more recent work draws upon more traditional Chinese practices, such as the landscape painting of the Song Dynasty. In addition, Fanzhi’s use of line recalls Chinese calligraphy and the process of attaining this art. To achieve this, Fanzhi developed a dramatically different technique in which he holds two –sometimes even four- brushes at a time, allowing him to create and to destroy form simultaneously. As a result, the paintings convey a sensation of spontaneity and sentiment. The works currently on display at Acquavella Galleries are illustrative of Fanzhi’s latest aesthetic.
18 East 79th Street
April 2, 2009 – May 15, 2009
Exhibition Page with Selected Press [Acquavella Galleries]
Artist Page [Acquavella Galleries]
Q & A with Zeng Fanzhi: The solo exhibition at Acquavella Galleries [ArtZine China]
Zeng Fanzhi [Saatchi Gallery]
China’s Art Market: Cold or Maybe Hibernating? [New York Times]
Chinese Contemporary Artist Zeng Fanzhi Solos at Acquavella Galleries [Artron.net]
Both within China’s contemporary art scene and the global art world, Fanzhi’s work takes up a notable position. He rose to prominence in the early nineties and has since been displayed at leading art institutions and sold by blue-chip galleries. President of Acquavella Galleries, William Acquavella, refers to Fanzhi as “the most admired figurative artist of his generation in Asia.” In May 2008, Fanzhi’s Mask Series 1996 No. 6 set a new world record for Chinese contemporary art at auction. At Christies in Hongkong, the work was hammered down at $9.7 million.
Fanzhi was born in Wuhan China in 1964. He studied at the Hubei Academy of Fine Arts and graduated in 1991. His graduation piece was part of the “China’s New Art, Post-1989” exhibition at the Hong Kong Arts Centre only two years later. Despite the fact that Fanzhi came of age during the Cultural Revolution in China, his work does not deal with political ideologies. He distinguished himself from his peers –who appropriate elements from American pop culture to examine Chinese society- through a highly personal aesthetic and content. In 1993, Fanzhi moved from his birth place of Wuhan to Beijing, where he felt his work received more recognition. He currently lives and works in Bejing.
Presently, Fanzhi’s work is also included in exhibitions at the YUZ Museum in Jakarta and at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.