Zeng Fanzhi shines at Gagosian Gallery

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zeng_fan_zhi_art_china_gagosian_hong_kong

In less than one year, the Gagosian Gallery has hosted several of the biggest names in contemporary art including Damien Hirst and Richard Prince. Their latest exhibition however, featuring Chinese artist Zeng Fanzhi, is their best show to date.

Perhaps due to the difficulty in assembling pieces from private collections, previous exhibits have contained filler work that rendered the shows somewhat inconsistent and less powerful. This is not the case with the new Zeng Fanzhi exhibition.

In part due to the number of seminal works provided from the artist’s personal collection, the show comes across as more focused and superior.

The exhibition establishes a winning rhythm by featuring a number of works of equal scale and quality. Though concentrating mostly on portraits, the exhibit spans different periods of the artist’s work, providing insight into Zeng Fanzhi’s career.

One fascinating background detail is that Zeng Fanzhi suffered an injury that forced him to learn to paint with his left hand, influencing his technique.

The artist’s recent portraits (several of which are exhibited here,) are particularly absorbing due to the subtle way he abstracts the subjects. To deflect any nostalgia he plays with proportion and adds faint blurs and color anomalies.

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Using disproportionate forms, and adding slightly smudged fragments of color to the portrait, he keeps them unconventional, yet still captures the subject honestly. The result is a portrait that packs a punch, but never strays into the conventional, sentimental territory of realism.

Highly recommended!

Zeng Fanzhi
Gagosian Gallery
7/F, Pedder Building (above Shanghai Tang)
12 Pedder Street
Central, Hong Kong
Until November 5th, 2011

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