Ocula MagazineContentsView All
Featured ContentView All
Havana Biennial 2019: Constructing the Possible Ocula Report Havana Biennial 2019: Constructing the Possible 17 Apr 2019 : Federica Bueti for Ocula

I first visited Havana in November 2016, a few days after Fidel Castro died, and just under a year before Hurricane Irma hit Cuba in September 2017. Since then, much has changed, including the hand-painted signs that punctuate the journey from the airport to the city centre, which today do not celebrate the revolution so much as the 'Unidad y...

Read More
Andrew Stahl and Guo Xiaohui Ocula Conversation Andrew Stahl and Guo Xiaohui

The exhibition Beyond Boundaries at Somerset House in London (12 March–2 April 2019) marked the historic contributions of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (CAFA) and the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, on the occasion of their 100th and 150th anniversaries, respectively. Spread across several rooms of Somerset House's...

Read More
The National 2019: New Australian Art Ocula Report The National 2019: New Australian Art 13 Apr 2019 : Elyse Goldfinch for Ocula

The National 2019: New Australian Art features work by 70 contemporary Australia-based artists split across three venues: the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) (29 March–21 July 2019), as curated by Isobel Parker Philip, curator of photographs at AGNSW; Daniel Mudie Cunningham,...

Read More

Zeng Fanzhi

b. 1964, China

In the beginning of his artistic career in the late 80's, Zeng Fanzhi painted apocalyptic, expressionist images, thus manipulating modernist compositional effects to intensify his sinister version of reality. His representational work reveals the place of the unconscious and aberrant in the construction of experience. The over-sized, clenched hands of his subjects are almost more remarkable than their stereotyped faces and wide-open eyes. Zeng Fanzhi's art simulates the fatigue of the contemporary experience: the rush to acquire and consume to the point of alienation and detachment. Working in idiosyncratic ways, he reminds us how effective art can be when it collapses these various experiences. He traces the eruption of the corporeal into the optical sedition of visual art.

Zeng Fanzhi's notorious mask series conducted in the mid 90's marks a turn in his aesthetics. All the figures in the series wear white masks fused closely with the facial features. The masks nevertheless possess a peculiar, haunting power. His figures look anxious or fearful, as if they are victims of their own roles. Through the mask motif, Zeng Fanzhi expresses suspended reality. The mood of his work is subtle unsettlement: it often suggests some past violence, recent or old, from which we can unravel clues—but never completely understand. His paintings are much more than sardonically recycled imagery. Zeng Fanzhi delivers an art that feels new, not in its premises but in its refined vitality. His late paintings signify a shift in his focus from a formal concern with the representation of existential unsettlement to an interest in how we imagine ourselves interacting with nature. Still, in his newly developed landscape paintings, there is a notion of permanent escape—an attempt to inhabit the uninhabitable. These images are expressively abstract. Rendered in cool shades of pink, black and blue, they represent the tension of failed community and human loneliness. Within these large-scale images there is a notion of fragility and vulnerability; like an attempt to create a terrain of uncertainty that inhabits both characters and landscape depicted. The grand scale of the paintings lends them a certain suggestive and sublime appearance. When viewed, the paintings constantly seem to evolve and create new particular impressions. The images reflect a social reality that is made up of multiple signifying systems of which the landscape is just one.

Zeng Fanzhi was born in 1964 in Wuhan province and studied oil painting at the Wuhan Art Academy. Today he lives and works in Beijing. Zeng Fanzhi has exhibited widely at acclaimed institutions such as the Shanghai Art Museum, National Art Museum (Beijing), Kunst Museum Bonn, Kunstmuseum Bern, Santa Monica Art Centre, (Barcelona), and Art Centre (Hong Kong). Recent solo exhibition including 2010 Zeng Fanzhi, Shanghai Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai(2010); Zeng Fanzhi, Acquavella Gallery, New York (2009); Tai Ping You Xiang-Zeng Fanzhi solo exhibition, ShanghART Beijing(2008); Zeng Fanzhi, Idealism, National Art Museum, Singapore(2007) etc.

Read More

Featured Artworks

View All (21)
Wintry Trees 寒林图 by Zeng Fanzhi contemporary artwork Zeng FanzhiWintry Trees 寒林图, 2018 Lithography on STPI handmade paper
47 x 57.5 x 3.8 cm (incl frame)
STPI
Autumn River 秋岸图 by Zeng Fanzhi contemporary artwork Zeng FanzhiAutumn River 秋岸图, 2018 Lithography on STPI handmade paper
58.7 x 58.7 x 3.8 cm (incl frame)
STPI
Early Spring 早春图 by Zeng Fanzhi contemporary artwork Zeng FanzhiEarly Spring 早春图, 2018 Lithography on STPI handmade paper
58.7 x 58.7 x 3.8 cm (incl frame)
STPI
Rooster by Zeng Fanzhi contemporary artwork Zeng FanzhiRooster, 2019 Oil on canvas
23 5/8 x 23 5/8 inches
Gagosian
Untitled by Zeng Fanzhi contemporary artwork Zeng FanzhiUntitled, 2017 Oil on canvas
249.7 x 250 x 6.5 cm
Hauser & Wirth
Untitled by Zeng Fanzhi contemporary artwork Zeng FanzhiUntitled, 2018 Oil on canvas
180 x 260 cm
Hauser & Wirth
Untitled by Zeng Fanzhi contemporary artwork Zeng FanzhiUntitled, 2018 Oil on canvas
100 x 80 cm
Hauser & Wirth
Untitled by Zeng Fanzhi contemporary artwork Zeng FanzhiUntitled, 2018 Oil on canvas
100 x 330 cm
Hauser & Wirth

Current & Recent Exhibitions

View All (5)
Contemporary art exhibition, Group exhibition, The Avant-Garde is Not Afraid of a Long March 前卫不怕远征难 at ShanghART, Singapore
Open Now
16 February–28 April 2019 Group exhibition The Avant-Garde is Not Afraid of a Long March 前卫不怕远征难 ShanghART, Singapore
Contemporary art exhibition, Zeng Fanzhi, In the Studio at Hauser & Wirth, Hong Kong
Closed
8 October–10 November 2018 Zeng Fanzhi In the Studio Hauser & Wirth, Hong Kong
Contemporary art exhibition, Zeng Fanzhi, In the Studio at Hauser & Wirth, London
Closed
2 October–10 November 2018 Zeng Fanzhi In the Studio Hauser & Wirth, London

Represented By

In Ocula Magazine

Art Basel in Hong Kong 2019: A Post-mortem Ocula Report Art Basel in Hong Kong 2019: A Post-mortem 6 Apr 2019 : Diana d’Arenberg for Ocula

Although Art Basel in Hong Kong is the youngest of the Art Basel fairs, and a relative newcomer to the international art fair circuit, it has now become a major attraction for collectors and galleries from around the world. The seventh edition of Art Basel in Hong Kong saw thousands of art courtesans and benefactors kick off the week with a string...

Read More
Dr Uli Sigg Ocula Conversation Dr Uli Sigg Collector

When Sydney art dealer Ray Hughes visited Swiss collector Uli Sigg at his Mauensee residence near Lucerne some years ago, a mutual friend asked the dealer how the visit went. ‘Did you feel comfortable and find a place to kick your feet up and read?’ ‘No, to both,’ answered Hughes, ‘it seems there was only art...

Read More

In Related Press

View All (7)
From Innovation to Provocation, China’s Artists on a Global Path Related Press From Innovation to Provocation, China’s Artists on a Global Path The New York Times : 6 October 2017

Strange to say, although China has 1.4 billion people, it has only one artist, Ai Weiwei. Or so you'd think if you followed the Western news media. Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum wants to correct that impression. With work by some 70 Chinese-born artists and collectives filling most of the museum,...

Read More
Liu Xiaodong Related Press Liu Xiaodong https://frieze.com/article/liu-xiaodong-0 : 18 May 2017

Engaged with photography, film and painting for the past three decades, Liu Xiaodong has described his style as an 'open' one that explores thespaces between realism and abstraction. This vision is evident in theexhibition 'Chittagong', a series of paintings based on in situ researchof the everyday realities of the men working in...

Read More
The Chinese aesthete: Zeng Fanzhi's 'Parcours' at UCCA, Beijing Related Press The Chinese aesthete: Zeng Fanzhi's 'Parcours' at UCCA, Beijing Art Radar Journal : 10 November 2016

Zeng Fanzhi: Parcours opened at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) in Beijing on 19 September 2016, and represents the ‘auction-favourite’ Chinese artist Zeng Fanzhi’s work spanning nearly 30 years of his creative output through close to 60 works borrowed from collections around the world. The exhibition, curated by...

Read More
M+ Sigg Collection Exhibition Related Press M+ Sigg Collection Exhibition WestKowloon : 24 February 2016

Comprising more than eighty works by fifty artists – including Ai Weiwei, Fang Lijun, Geng Jianyi, Huang Yong Ping, Zhang Peili, and Zhang Xiaogang – this is the first-ever chronological exhibition about the emergence of Chinese contemporary art. It shows both the development of Chinese contemporary art and a glimpse of the collection...

Read More

In Related Video

Zeng Fanzhi: From Hand to Mind Related Video & Audio Zeng Fanzhi: From Hand to Mind Nowness : 16 May 2015

The search for identity in socially and politically evolving China characterizes Zeng Fanzhi's work. Often compared to the German Expressionists, his vivid brushstrokes have made him the most high-valued Asian artist working today (The Last Supper, inspired by Leonardo da Vinci's 15th-century mural of the same name, sold for $23.3 million at a 2013...

More

Sign up to be notified when new artworks and exhibitions by Zeng Fanzhi are added to Ocula.

WeChat

Scan the QR Code via WeChat to follow Ocula's official account.

iCal GoogleYahooOutlook