September 10, 2016 - Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) - Zeng Fanzhi: Parcours
September 10, 2016

Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA)

Zeng Fanzhi, Laocoön, 2015. Oil on canvas, 400 x 400 cm. © Zeng Fanzhi Studio.

Zeng Fanzhi
Parcours
September 19–November 19, 2016

Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA)
798 Art District
No. 4 Jiuxianqiao Road, Chaoyang District
100015 Beijing
China
Hours: Monday–Sunday 10am–7pm

T +86 10 5780 0200

ucca.org.cn

Zeng Fanzhi
Parcours
September 19–November 19, 2016

Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA)
798 Art District
No. 4 Jiuxianqiao Road, Chaoyang District
100015 Beijing
China
Hours: Monday–Sunday 10am–7pm

T +86 10 5780 0200

ucca.org.cn

From September 19 to November 19, 2016, the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) presents Zeng Fanzhi: Parcours, the artist’s largest and most comprehensive exhibition anywhere to date and his first institutional solo show in Beijing. Including over 60 works borrowed from collections around the world, it covers the nearly 30 years of Zeng’s creative output, winding through his extensive stylistic and thematic evolutions on canvas and in sculptural form. The main body of the exhibition in UCCA’s Great Hall features key works from each major series in Zeng’s career, presenting a complete picture of his creative exploration and artistic contribution, and referring to art-historical precedents from Hellenistic sculpture to Lucian Freud. It culminates in a room dedicated to a recent series of works on paper—never before exhibited in China—which mark a new engagement with the aesthetics of Chinese painting, and in the Nave, where a special space has been constructed to show two of his most ambitious landscapes.

Its title inspired by that of an early painting completed in 1990, Zeng Fanzhi: Parcours offers to bring the viewer along on the artist’s creative journey. A key figure in the generation of artists who emerged, along with the very notion of Contemporary Chinese Art, onto the world stage of the early 1990s, Zeng has consistently used his works to reflect on the social and cultural climate of his country through a highly personal visual language. His early paintings, completed during the late 1980s while he was a student at the Hubei Institute of Fine Arts, combine the pedagogical apparatus of socialist realism with a romantic interest in Western classicism and modernism to depict new realities of Reform-era Chinese society. Following his arrival on the Beijing scene in the mid-1990s, Zeng quickly gained recognition for his “Masks” series, which gives symbolic form to the dichotomies and affectations of that era through figures in varying states of alienation. After this, Zeng continued his research into painting itself, producing the strikingly colored, tensely vibrating, monumentally scaled canvases of the “Abstract Landscapes” series. In recent years, he has combined the free-range brushstrokes of these landscapes with homages to works by masters including Leonardo DaVinci and Albrecht Dürer, in a series of four-by-four-meter paintings that have been extensively exhibited abroad. The newest works in this exhibition are a grouping of paintings in ink on paper which signal an introspective shift in his practice. Today Zeng fulfils a role inhabited by artists throughout Chinese history: an aesthete among the worldly, offering uplift and solace through refinement.

Its design carefully authored by the artist’s longtime collaborators Tadao Ando Architect & Associates, Zeng Fanzhi: Parcours rhythmically divides the expanse of UCCA’s Great Hall into an immersive survey of his career. Six freestanding walls, each punctuated by a 2.4 meter square window, thoughtfully connect major shifts in the artist’s practice. They are enclosed by a series of darker walls that run around the space’s perimeter, chronologically presenting portraits from all phases of Zeng’s career.

Regarding his survey, Zeng Fanzhi states, “My heart is filled with gratitude for the wonderment of this experience, and I hope by presenting this exhibition, which incorporates canvases from all the major shifts in my practice, to share a fantastic visual journey with a global audience.”

Zeng Fanzhi: Parcours is curated by Philip Tinari and Guo Xi, and designed by Tadao Ando Architect & Associates. The exhibition is supported by the Zeng Fanzhi Leadership Circle: SANLI HOLDINGS, Taikang Life Insurance Co., Ltd., Tianchen Times, Yunfeng Capital, Chiu Yeng Culture, Wang Zhongjun, and Zhao Xu. Special support comes from Pinault Collection. The patrons’ dinner is generously supported by Gagosian Gallery. Additional support is provided by Dior and Shanghart Gallery. Lighting technology support comes from Hongri Lighting, and additional production support for the works on paper comes from STPI Creative Workshop and Gallery. Exhibition-related merchandise is produced in collaboration with CROQUIS, ZENS, echo, cam-in, and ART TIMES.

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