30 April – 3 June 2007
Singapore, 29 April 2007 -- Idealism, a solo exhibition by internationally acclaimed Chinese contemporary artist, Zeng Fanzhi, is on at the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) from April 30 to June 3 2007. This exhibition of 36 major works includes those from his celebrated series Hospital, Meat, Mask and Portraits. The exhibition also features new works from the Untitled (Night) series that have never been exhibited. Idealism is an exhibition that captures the tension between greatness and emptiness, joyousness and alienation, sentiments echoed in Zeng's powerful expressionist style. The exhibition departs from the chronological presentation of Zeng's works at international museums and galleries. Zeng responds to the gallery spaces of SAM and the interplay of the theme of idealism. A retrospective-scaled exhibition, Idealism is site specific to SAM and the exhibition's curatorial direction for which the artist has created new works
Zeng notes, "The gallery spaces at the Singapore Art Museum were unique to me in that they resonate with history as they were once classrooms of a school. I feel that as an institution of learning, the notions of idealism must have been held in high esteem by the teachers and students of the school working towards a future that would be filled with both ups and downs. But despite this uncertainty, idealism was still a spark that fired many imaginations. These new works I created for the exhibition is an expression of my self towards the gallery spaces at the Singapore Art Museum."
Zeng Fanzhi is among today's most sought after Chinese contemporary artists having sold at record prices at recent auctions. Growing up during Mao's Cultural Revolution and coupled with experiences as a troubled child left an indelible influence on his views of the world and subsequently his art. He developed a powerful expressionist style combined with a realist approach which set his work apart at an early stage. With his early Hospital series created for his degree show, he garnered a strong reputation in the Chinese art circles.
Best known for his Mask series, a collection of paintings expressing the artist's views of the relationships between people and the false nature of these relations, that he undertook exclusively between 1994 to 2000, Zeng's art can be described as a narrative of the individual and the individual's isolation from the crowd. The exhibition includes some of his most iconic works from this series such as Portrait. Other notable works on display during the exhibition are The Great Man paintings from the Portrait series, featuring portraits of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao which look like official portraits at first glance but allows the individual an array of reactions and perceptions to them due to Zeng's expressive strokes and the choice of monochromatic colours used.
Zeng Fanzhi: Idealism was first conceived as a retrospective exhibition incorporating representative works from the artist's major series, though through the selection process and close working relations with the artist, a presentation specific to the museum's gallery space and layout surfaced. "The curators were drawn into the open-endedness of Zeng's works and felt that only a corresponding curatorial framework that will take a viewer onto a circuitous journey of encounters with Zeng's works will befit this interplay. It was decided that a chronological progression of the series was not desired”, says Mr. Kwok Kian Chow, Director of the Singapore Art Musuem.
Zeng Fanzhi: Idealism is a visual journey into the realms we ourselves are never willing to encounter. It also provides an insight into the works of one of China's leading artists in the Contemporary Asian art scene. The exhibition is organized by the Singapore Art Museum in collaboration with Jasmine Fine Arts, Singapore and ShanghART, Shanghai. It will be on from April 30 to June 3 2007 and is part of the Singapore Art Museum's continuing programme to present cutting-edge contemporary Asian artists to Singapore audiences.
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