Art Review: Zeng Fanzhi – Tai Ping You Xiang


In his current exhibition at ShanghART Beijing, Chinese artist Zeng Fanzhi — best-known for his Mask series — presents five large oil paintings, each nearly two meters in length and depicting dense, overgrown forests. Tai Ping You Xiang, the title of both the show and a square canvas of a white elephant in a tangled grove, is inspired by a poem by the Song dynasty poet Lu You; loaded with auspicious meaning, it connotes peace, stability, and happiness, and is also a pun on “xiang,” meaning either “good harvests and peaceful times to come” or “elephant”. Despite their long and chaotic brush strokes, Zeng’s paintings evoke a sense of serenity. As the viewer is drawn to the shades and colors of light between thedense branches, a subtle social commentary on traditional Chinese culture emerges: despite the vain ambitions of contemporary society, one will always return to one’s roots.

Artkrush Reviews Issue #90

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