• Zhong Cheng 2019 Spring Auction「Morden And Contemporary Art」
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    ZHOU CHUNYA(b.1955)

    The Peach Tree by Slender West Lake


    Oil on Linen

    Dated 2019, signed Zhou Chunya in Chinese and English

    Estimate TWD 13,600,000-18,000,000
    USD 440,400-582,900
    HKD 0-0

    Hammer Price TWD 21,600,000
    USD 687,898
    HKD 5,427,136





In 1980, Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts was renowned for Scar Art movement. When his fellow peers are working on drawings that heal the wounds left from historical oppression, Zhou Chunya was enthralled by the the wild Tibetan’s tribe, and their humble earnestness towards nature, thus creating a body of work titled “New Generation of Tibetan Tribe” depicting Tibetan lifestyle on the prairie. Zhou Chunya enrolled in Kassel Academy of Fine Art in Germany from 1986 to 1988, where he immersed himself in the style of Impressionists, Cubists and Expressionists, but he was especially moved by the German Neo Expressionism that was emerging at the time. His brushstrokes gradually abandoned the Realist rendering of the Tibetan period, his new works were filled with bold colors and a shocking new visual expression. “If it weren’t for those three year, I cannot see my art going very far.”

In 1990, Zhou Chunya left Germany for China in pursue of a more suitable artistic expression within the traditional oriental vocabulary -one that would conquer the disparity between the Western and Eastern aesthetics. He started his artistic journey by seeking inspirations from traditional Chinese culture. When Zhou Chunya spoke of the past, he said “I first inserted myself into Chinese traditional painting, I began by systematically studying the paintings of ancient civilization, especially in the forms of Yuan Si Jia, Ba Da and Dong Qichang. This was an important turning point in my painting career, as I was determined to take an unexpected and brand new path.” Through the expression of landscape, stones and flowers inspired by traditional Chinese paintings, Zhou Chunya established a new approach to oil painting that arise from the intersection of ink drawings, Neo Expressionism and Abstraction. This particular painting style not only harmonized the variation of elements within Western Expressionism and traditional Chinese painting, but it also represents the unification of the two conflicting cultural dimensions; thereby inserting itself as a timeless dialogue that exists within the context of both traditional and contemporary art.

In 1994, Zhou Chunya’s beloved German Sheppard -Heigan became the focus of his series. Beneath his paintbrush, the “Green Dog” takes after Heigan’s strong and firm form, the paintings came out sublime, possessing real individuality and soul. Sometimes the dogs are portrayed as mischievous and wild, at times they are confused and clumsy even lonely. However, their presence all imply the same connotation and vigorous vitality. When Heigan passed away from illness, Zhou Chunya gave up the rigorous volume of brushworks and gradually descend into freehand abstraction.  

Zhou Chunya first traveled to Longquan Shan on March, 2005, where he was profoundly mesmerized by the overflowing peach blossoms in full bloom. Zhou Chunya once said “Lust is an integral part of being human. The erotic feelings and desires are a manifestation of vitality. Similar to peach blossom blooming in Spring, and why should I avoid it?” The artist breakaway from voyager's point of view, instead he created a boundless form of nature. Ever since, the dazzling peach blossom spreads generously across his canvas, subsequently became his most important and celebrated series. The Peach Tree by Slender West Lake completed in 2019 is the artist’s most mature and comprehensive representation of the “Peach Blossoms” series. 

In The Peach Tree by Slender West Lake, Zhou Chunya embraced the fluidity of oil paint through compliant and flexible brushstrokes as he rendered an exemplification of matured and sophisticated composition. The peach blossom tree is positioned in the center of the canvas, while the vigorous branches stretched out to the sky, the blooming flowers nearly make the trees looks like they were caught on fire in passionate hues of red and pink. The flowers occupied the entire picture unceremoniously. The variations of dark and bright peach blossoms are scattered in splashes and sprinkles of paint, leaving behind an infinitely enchanting visual imagery. In terms of color, the peach blossoms are made up of different shades of blush, while the trees and grass are portrayed in bold shade of green that is also seen in the “Green Dog” series. The following work embodied rich and vibrant color, diverse texture and vigorous vitality. The peach blossom is complimented by a flowing stream of river, and the stream resonances with the cloudless blue sky of the background. Although the combination of these elements were meant to create a simple and serene nature scenery, it was utterly transformed by the artist’s interpretation into a flamboyant and extravagant setting with charm and captivating qualities. 

Traditionally in Chinese paintings peach blossoms symbolize femininity, fragileness, fertility and lust, the famous Tang dynasty poet Du Fu described the flowers’ delicateness in these lines “Wanton willow catkins dance with the wind. Frivolous peach blossoms flow with the stream.” Nevertheless, in Zhou Chunya’s eyes the peach blossoms are glamour, wild and untamable beings, among other sentiments and symbols they represent life’s impulsive desires and passions, since they possessed an extreme level of attraction that is nearly livid and dangerous. Zhou Chunya once said, “The colors of peach blossoms are both soft and intense, seguing into whiter shades towards the flower’s rim and showing deeper crimson and rose tones towards its center. In China these flower are traditional symbols of both romantic and sexual attraction, representing the natural instincts of all life. Walking in a copse of peach trees I always feel full of zest and energy- my heart is bursting with joy, and my spirit brimming with delight. The countless hues of red stir up excitement and soothe the soul at the same time.”

Focusing on the intensity of color and purity of form, Zhou Chunya’s “gentle violence” is freed from mediocre colors and fixated state of mind. His contemporary painting style is both rebellious and unconventional but also remarkably impressionable and earnest, retaining his own unique characteristics. Zhou Chunya described his reflection of the world by saying, “Although I am painting landscapes and nature, but my views of humanity are also incorporated into the sceneries.” The lush visual lexicon in his painting style had abandoned all hidden and profound symbols, instead it guides the most essential and authentic thoughts that are buried deep beneath our heart into the open. The artist’s inimitable individuality demonstrates warmth and humanistic concerns making each piece a classic.

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