Author: ZHOU CHUNYA 周春芽
Signed and dated: Painted in 2013
Final Price: RMB 8,500,000
signed in Chinese and pinyin, dated 2013
Private collection (directly brought from the artist)
In the confrontation and exchanges between contemporary and traditional, China and the West, Zhou Chunya appears as an artist who constantly breaks through the confinement. He is always looking for fresh visual materials and formal structures, from "Mountain Stone" to "Green Dog" to "Peach Blossom", the creation of each series has witnessed how he disintegrated the patterns and order inherent in Chinese and Western art, and established his own visual language system. In the 1980s, Zhou Chunya studied at the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts and the Kassel Academy of Fine Arts in Germany. This early education made him lean towards German expressionist art in language. After returning to China, he systematically traced and studied Chinese traditional painting. As a result, these two distinct artistic sources and visual traditions were perfectly integrated in his paintings. Since the beginning of 1990, Zhou Chunya has successively experimented with his own artistic language on symbols such as "Mountain Stone", "Green Dog" and "Peach Blossom"---expressive composition, that is, an image between concrete and abstract, heavy texture , bridged lines... It can be seen in his paintings that the "recoil" and "combination" between "language" and "imagery" present a subjective construction of "world" and "culture".
Throughout the traditional Chinese landscape paintings, stone has always been one of the most representative painting topics, and there have been masterpieces handed down on stone in all ages. The series of works created in 1994, the Red Stone — Zhou Chunya used the technique of flat coating to spread the red-brown as the background color, and then piled up the paint to form the "red stone" with obvious texture, creating a strong visual impact. Here, the artist does not present the image in a simulated manner, but uses a spiritual and natural emotional expression to show the image condensed on the canvas, which is also a blending environment that transcends the appearance of the natural scenery.
In 1994, Zhou Chunya showed his dog in a painting for the first time, that is, the German Shepherd named Heigen. Since then, he has changed his normal way and presented his works in green. On a large area of canvas, Zhou Chunya presents Green Dog in various shapes in the form of Chinese painting blank, standing, rolling, jumping or walking. Green Dog seems to have human characteristics, sometimes fierce and sometimes clever. Green Dog tries to integrate into human life and become a member of human beings. The critic Lu Peng once described in an article: Heigen is actually a part of the life of the painter. It seems to be a life without the characteristics of human consciousness. On the contrary, it lacks the various social attributes and natural characteristics of human beings. Therefore, its living condition in this prosperous city is much simpler. In "Green Dog" created in 2000, the artist concisely shows a Green Dog in a squatting position, with its ears erected and a long tongue grinning, presenting it almost directly facing the viewer. The shape of the Green Dog is made up of rubbing, rubbing, and twisting brushstrokes. The twisting of the brushstrokes is very complicated, so the color seems to be turned and twisted, full of a "shaped rhythm" like the "ups and downs" discussed by Zhou Chunya. While expressing the sense of volume in the sculpture, the artist lingers on the delicate transformation of green, turning color and gesture movements into fascinating expressive elements, thus highlighting the artist’s creative mood and personality.
Peach blossom is a traditional subject of Chinese painting. Whether it is in meticulous paintings or literati ink play, peach blossoms are endowed with a gentle and elegant characteristic, which expresses the intellectual’s noble and self-appreciated feelings. However, in Zhou Chunya’s creation, the painter broke the visual model that has been passed down for thousands of years, that is, no longer expressing the subtle and subtle emotions, but using bright and strong colors, thick and rough brush strokes and full passion to give the peach blossom a primitive vitality. Zhou Chunya once said: "I like things that are full of life. When I see peach blossom in Taohua mountain near Chengdu in spring, the pink all over the mountain flows with the enchantment of blood, which makes me feel the rhythm of primitive life force. " At the same time, Zhou Chunya’s paintings also vaguely reveal an ambiguous sense of eroticism, just as the painter said, "Lust and Emotion" is the innate desire of human beings, and it is also the expression of pure vitality, just like a peach blossom in spring. German expressionist painting in the twentieth century expressed complex inner emotions by distorting and abstracting reality. In the paper oil painting "Peach Blossom" created in 2006, the artist combines the peach blossom in freehand Chinese painting with the expressionism color of Western painting, resulting in a warm and brilliant peach blossom: it becomes the protagonist of the painting, and even almost supports the painting. The enchanting and charming peach blossoms are brilliant, but it is difficult to resist the short-lived appearance of life, which also implies the passion of life.
Zhou Chunya’s "Spring Breeze Blowing on the Fence Makes Flowers in Dewdrops Vivid and Attractive" in 2013 is a magnificent masterpiece of his "Peach Blossom" theme, presenting the luxuriant peach blossoms in full bloom in a rare large-scale double panel picture. In this work, he changed the expressive technique of freehand style, and presented the scene of the peach garden in full bloom on the lakeside under the blue sky with the progressive vision of the close-range, middle-range and long-range views. The composition of this work is full, the colors are vivid and intense, simple yet full of change. Here, the artist cleverly uses various complementary color relationships to make the picture full of strong contrast and rhythm, but the overall tone is extremely uniform, that is, a large area of pink is blowing, giving people a feeling of bright spring. The artist adopts a nearly flat painting method for fields, streams, and distant sky, which maximizes the inherent tension of colors, and the rich and changeable brushstrokes make simple objects not lose their vividness. The painter did not completely realistically paint the close-up peach blossoms in the painting, but reprocessed them according to his own subjective impression and understanding. As a result, the flowers seem to be in a blazing light, without the tranquility and restraint of the ancient literati, but with a public attitude and dazzling. Here, the painter’s thick brushstrokes and bright colors create an extremely impactful visual effect.
In Li Bai’s "Qingping Tune, No. 1", there is a verse like "Colorful clouds and rosy flowers remind people of beautiful clothes and faces; spring breeze blowing on the fence makes flowers in dewdrops vivid and attractive".The artist borrowed the second half of the sentence as the title of the work to try to illustrate the semantic meaning of his work: The "Peach Blossom" series depicts "lust and emotion", which is the innate desire of mankind, which dissolves the barrier between mankind and nature. It also blurs the boundary between crime and morality, indulges sincere and instinctive fantasy in a flowing color mood, and completely releases and detonates the natural attributes of man in a grand scene, that is, mild and violent. This may be just as the painter said, "Lust and Emotion" is the innate desire of human beings, and it is also the expression of pure vitality, just like the peach blossoms blooming in spring.