• Zhong Cheng 2021 Spring Auction「Modern And Contemporary Art」
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    ZHOU CHUNYA(b.1955)



    Oil on Canvas, laid on Wood
    52 x 38 cm

    Signed Zhou Chunya in Chinese and dated 1979

    Estimate TWD 1,800,000-3,200,000
    USD 64,300-114,300
    HKD 0-0

    Hammer Price TWD 3,600,000
    USD 129,590
    HKD 1,028,571




Exposition:The following work has been confirmed by the artist as an original

Zhou Chunya’s rise to fame came early. Yet, as trends waxed and waned, he seems to have stayed in the peripheral. Always perceptive of his inner voice, he proclaims the sincere existence of his being by painting. “Joy” as an essential element of painting is his unwavering conviction. He regards life as where his art begins, from which it is willed by his heart and emotions… 


In the 1980s, the Scar Art Movement swept across China from Sichuan Fine Arts Institute. It was a time when Zhou’s peers created paintings that ease the pain brought on by history and attempted to illuminate the glory of humanity through the shadows of social realism. The then 25-year-old Zhou turned instead to the magnificent Tibetan wilderness, embracing the land that is caressed by the sun. He created New Generation Tibetan that year and entered the second National Exhibition of Fine Arts with it. The top prize for the event went to Luo Zhongli’s Father, while the second went to Zhou. Why did Zhou steer away from scar art? He explained during an interview, “At the time, I, too, attempted a series of narrative paintings on the topic of scar art. I didn’t continue after all, perhaps due to my inability to dive into the complexity of such ideology. At that time, I wanted to sketch. Through sketching in nature, I was able to confront it without any buffer, in all its glory, allowing art to flow and manifest through my own passion and excitement.”


In 1986, while 85 New Wave was burgeoning through China, Zhou averted the mainstream yet again. In 1986, he decided to enroll in Kassel College of Art in Germany, soaking in painting theories of the West and immersing himself in Impressionism and Cubism. He was especially stunned by Neo-expressionism, by its appeal for emotions; tribute to primal beauty; daring rendering of colors. Though he admires such blatant honesty, the penetrating tune of a Chinese classic triggered a burning longing for home in him. “‘The Song of Frontier’ struck a complex, entangling, and conflicting chord in me,” said Zhou.
Upon his return from Germany, he averted the mainstream yet again. Instead, he turned to the Eastern tradition, looking for expressions that resonate with him. He delved into Chinese literati paintings, distilling its essence from masters such as Wang Meng, Bada Shanren, Dong Qichang, and Huang Binhong.


Finally in the 1990s, the experimental Rock Mountain series was born. He presented the traditional symbolism of the Chinese culture with oil paint, a medium of the West. From two to three-dimensional art, between modern trends and Eastern cordiality, he epitomizes superb and groundbreaking insight. 


Zhong Cheng’s 2021 spring auction presents Zhou’s 1979 Nude, which was completed around his time in Sichuan Fine Arts Institute. The depiction here is closely associated to the inspiration behind his Rock Mountain series. When developing the nude paintings, he devoted tremendous efforts in the study of human anatomy, exploring the structural commonality between that and the mountain rocks. Though he focused attentively on the human body, the facial expressions and characteristics are often omitted or blurred. Nude, however, is presented with clearly defined expression with realistic portrayal, which is exemplary of Zhou’s early pieces, making it a rare gem.


Nude’s overall texture is likened to that of spliced crumpled paper. Large patches of colors appear liberating and succinct. The skin shines with a steady earthly glow, natural and unadorned, echoing his prominent Tibetan series. With her eyes closed, the figure is sound asleep, seemingly hinting at the serenity that surrounds her. The body, which is soft and in a completely relaxed state, reveals a state of mind free of worries. Zhou approached this painting with playful, liberal but solid strokes, carefully setting off a protagonist peacefully sleeping and dreaming. This flicker of moment has been captured for eternity, forever shining in front of our eyes. 

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