尺寸： 200x162 cm；约29.75平尺
signed in Chinese and Pinyin; signed in Pinyin, dated and titled 8.10.84 on the reverseFuji Television Gallery labels affixed to the stretcher on the reverseoil on canvas200 by 162 cm; 78 ¾ by 63 ¾ in.Provenance : This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity issued by spouse of the artist, Françoise MarquetThis work will be included in the forthcoming Catalogue Raisonné currently being prepared by Françoise Marquet and Yann Hendgen (Information provided by Fondation Zao Wou-Ki)[********]
Exhibited : Fuji Television Gallery, TokyoPrivate Asian CollectionChristie’s, Hong Kong, 27 November 2005, Lot 240 Private CollectionKingsley Art Auction, Taipei, 28 November 2008, Lot 26 Private CollectionRavenal, Taipei, 5 June 2011, Lot 156 Acquired directly from the above by the present important private Asian collector[********]
Literature : Tokyo, Fuji Television Gallery, Zao Wou-Ki, 6-31 October 1987[********]
"The various qi are unmoving. Intention flows like water. Move ceaselessly without pause. Obtain the truth of the Dao."
Excerpt from Zhengtong Daozang, Ming Dynasty
The highest abstraction necessarily reaches the state of philosophy. To appreciate a masterwork of abstract art is no less than to study a wordless philosophical classic. Between 1964 and 1967, the Russian-born abstract master Mark Rothko created a series of monumental murals in a chapel in Houston built by the American philanthropists John and Dominique de Menil. The murals in the Rothko Chapel, as it came to be known, are considered the canonical fusion of abstract art and Christian theology. As pictorial abstraction reached Asia, it was naturally connected with the Buddhist notion of emptiness and the Daoist notion of nothingness. Drawing from their own cultural heritage, Chinese artists forged an Eastern abstraction that vied in richness and brilliance with the work of Western modernist masters. In the 1980s, Zao Wou-Ki enjoyed global renown, mounting successive large-scale exhibitions in Europe, the Americas, and Japan. As Mainland China and Taiwan began more accessible and Hong Kong entered its golden age of prosperity, Zao also increasingly returned to the greater Chinese cultural sphere, mounting a large-scale solo exhibition at the History Museum in Taipei in 1981, a solo exhibition at the Hong Kong Art Center with the support of the French Consulate and Omega in 1982, and historic debut exhibitions of his abstract paintings at the National Art Museum of China in Beijing and Zhejiang Academy of Fine Art in Hangzhou (now China Academy of Art) in 1983. By this point, Zao Wou-Ki was in the top echelon of the global art world and in a state of spiritual and intellectual maturity. Dating from this time, 08.10.84 (Lot 1040) embodies Zao Wou-Ki s philosophical resolution and vast vision at the height of his powers.
Exploring the frontiers of the universe
In scale and style, 08.10.84 exudes a self-assured cosmic vision. After his exuberance Mad Cursive period, Zao Wou-Ki underwent a withdrawal in the 1970s occasioned by the death of his beloved wife May Zao. Consequently his compositions became concentrated along a central axis, which is deconstructed and dispersed into an expansive blankness around. He pursued such compositions for about ten years until developing a new idiom and reaching another peak in his career in the 1980s. Now his compositions still had the play between dispersal into void and recoagulation into energy, but tended towards the "reconstruction" of an expansive cosmic space. The present work typifies Zaos work of the 1960s and 70s. The concentrated energy of the center expands leftwards and rightwards. Above, shining stars evoke the infinitude of the universe. The empty white space below appears not to be solid ground but amorphous, ambiguous mist, which elevates the viewer into a transcendental perspective. This otherworldly vision reaches deeply into the Chinese philosophy of the mind and is much more significant than sheer negative space. The Taixi jingwei lun chapter of the Daozang of the Ming Dynasty opens with the following lines, which perfectly encapsulates the vision of 08.10.84: "Purify oneself in practice. Forget and release the body. Forego preoccupations of the will. Stabilize the heart. Penetrate the ultimate harmony. Extend life and prolong perception. The various qi are unmoving. Intention flows like water. Move ceaselessly without pause. Obtain the truth of the Dao."
In 1987, the painting was exhibited at the art gallery of Fuji Television Network. In the catalogue, the Japanese critic Junji Ito succinctly analyzes Zao Wou-Ki s artistic development in terms of a "Locus of Space." This locus applies not only to Zaos work but more generally to the transformation of both Eastern and Western representational landscape painting into abstraction. We may compare 08.10.84 to the 19th-century master landscape Joseph Mallord William Turner, whose greatest works were no longer concerned with actual scenery but with immaterial light, moisture, air, and space. He brought painting to the threshold of abstraction but did not complete the transformation himself. It was up to later masters to fulfill this mission of his legacy. 08.10.84 can be said to have continued this 150-year artistic revolution.