Zeng Fanzhi

Zeng Fanzhi was born in Wuhan, China in 1964.

Zeng Fanzhi Self Portrait
Zeng Fanzhi Self Portrait

Zeng Fanzhi’s paintings are immediately recognisable by their signature expressionistic style. An effect that lends provocative sensations of underlying violence, psychological tension, or supernatural aura to his lavishly rendered canvases.

Zeng Fanzhi Mask Series
Zeng Fanzhi Mask Series

With subjects ranging from portraits and rural landscapes to politically charged motifs, Zeng infuses the everyday veneer of shared experience with an ambience of transgression, reflective of both the rapidly changing terrain of contemporary Chinese culture and the negotiation of personal identity within this societal flux.

Zeng Fhanzi Landscape Series
Zeng Fhanzi Landscape Series

Zeng’s magnificent landscapes express the vast conceptual gulf between individual cognition and the actuality of environment. Painting with two brushes simultaneously, Zeng uses one to describe his subject, while the other meanders the canvas, leaving traces of his subconscious through processes. Through this combination of painterly realism and ‘automatic’ expression, Zeng’s landscapes are transformed into near abstract fields; the depicted people and places merging both memory and imagination

Zeng Fanzhi Little Boy
Zeng Fanzhi Little Boy

Some of his latest works are inspired by the sketches of Albrecht Dürer. In a reversal of conventional East-West aesthetics, Zeng re-interprets Dürer’s intricate imagery and thin, precise brushstrokes—which resonate with traditional Chinese painting—with thick strokes of oil paint layered with a broad brush. In The Hare (2012) and Head of an Old Man (2012), the rabbit fur of the former and the flowing white beard of the latter are rendered as masses of carefully delineated, yet aggressively and broadly executed brushstrokes.

Zeng Fanzhi Portrait of an Old Man
Zeng Fanzhi Portrait of an Old Man

Watch Zeng Fanzhi on His Show at Gagosian Chelsea

Watch Zeng Fanzhi Short Documentary by Ringo Tang

Watch Zeng Fanzhi explains the theory and thought behind his work

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