The members of the Siegerland Artists' Workgroup (ASK) and the German-Chinese Friendship Society (GDCF) are delighted to welcome Zhang Zhaofang and Zeng Fanxu from Deyang, PR China, with an exhibition.
Chinese painting - between tradition and modernity
Zeng Fanxu and Zhang Zhaofang
Art Gallery Siegen: August 31 to October 5 2007
Official inauguration for the exhibition on August 31 at 7pm with both artists in attendance.
A catalogue for the exhibitionis is available thanks for the kind support and preface from Hao Yuenan from the local government of the CCP Deyang.
For Zeng Fanxu and Zhang Zhaofang's first exhibition outside China, gallery owner Helga Oberkalkofen and her partner Thomas Kellner have selected mostly landscape motifs and a architecture images.
The Kunstverein Siegen has shown many variations on the theme of landscape for many years and it is thought that a continuation of this would facilitate access to our Siegen audience for the two Chinese artists.
Both painters present individual series.
Zhang Zhaofang shows four different approaches to his environment. The first one is based on the Chinese tradition using classical watercolor painting techniques. From a distance, the landscapes appear natural to us, perhaps somewhat foreign, as they are Chinese, but when we approach the pictures we notice a distinct stroke and mastery of the surface, which can clearly be attributed to very traditional Chinese painting. In a second series, the trees blur in a wet-on-wet technique that even manages to capture the reflection of the water's surface in the foreground. A third series changes the mood from melancholic to a colorful dance of brushstrokes that appears to be Cezanne's personal reworking and continuation. Fields of color, cubes swing across the paper in staccato and present the springtime in Chinese landscape to us. Zhang Zhaofang's genre painting originates from different phases of his work and reveal the development from a more traditional depictive style of painting to a depiction of painting itself. Although he began with watercolors, the series of houses ends in impasto application with an abstract expressive effect.
Zeng Fanxu found his way to painting through his friend Zhang Zhaofang. His scenes of small-town and village architecture are quick, lively sketches that only partially glow with color. The calligraphy in the strokes is very reminiscent of the poetic practice of Chinese characters. Between thin lines, dusty streets and houses, a few colors flash out.
We also find these bright islands of color in his landscape watercolor paintings, but they all have a rather dark, melancholic appearance. Almost as if, before a thunderstorm, the horizon had darkened and with but a few rays of sunlight, the colors of the flowers taking on an almost primal glow.
Like his friend Zhang Zhaofang, Zeng Fanxu also develops the landscape motif, but he takes a different path. His landscapes on canvas (and here he abandons the conditions and materiality of watercolor) do not follow the path of a cubic Cezanne. At first glance, the pictures are reminiscent of many an Art Brut painting. His luminous brushstrokes follow the colors of the landscape, take on a life of their own and spiral with a new color. The result are abstract, colorful paintings that we can imagine representing the vibrant and magnificent future of China.
The exhibition came about through the contact between the Siegerland Artists' Workgroup and the German-Chinese Friendship Society (GDCF). In the fall of 2005, the GDCF asked the Siegerland Artists' Workgroup whether there was any interest in a group exhibition in Deyang, the sister city to the Siegen-Wittgenstein district.
In 1992, the GDCF had already organized an exhibition of works by Siegerland artists, not exclusivelz from the ASK, at the Confucius Temple in Deyang (The exhibiting: Christraut Borski, Rudolf Bieler, Jochen Dietrich, Karin Fuchs, Guenther Haehner, Daniel Hees, Gereon Heil, Thomas Kellner, Heidemarie Koenigs, Juergen Koenigs, Bodo Meier, Britta Moche, Peter Nettesheim, Martin Obst, Brigitte Piecha, Uwe Pieper, Karin Rappold-Kleinert, Ann Karin Roeding, Werner Schneider, Susanne Skalski, Georg Tokarz, Nham-hee Voelkel-Song).
The members of the group quickly agreed that the ASK wanted to support such an undertaking and that there was also great interest in a trip to China. During the course of preparations, ASK's request for project funding from the Siegen-Wittgenstein district made it clear that it was time for the district administrator and council to reciprocate the friendly relations with the sister city with a return visit. (Initial contacts date back to 1986-88, the sisterhood was established in 1998). In October 2006, a group of members of the GDCF and ASK artists (Sigrid Mertin, Aki Benemann, Petra Oberhäuser, Helga Seekamp and Thomas Kellner) led by Isolde Gomberg, Chairwoman of the German-Chinese Friendship Society in Siegen, set off for China, where after a week they were joined by the delegation from the district of Siegen-Wittgenstein, consisting of District Administrator Paul Breuer, representatives of the parties in the district council, as well as representatives of almost all regional media.
In Deyang, the delegation received a warm welcome and the group from Siegen was able to get to know many facets of the city of Deyang. The program also included the opening of the group exhibition of Siegen artists in the rooms of the Art Wall, which was celebrated with an official ceremony in the park opposite the wall.
On this occasion, Chinese and German artists met and exchanged ideas during a conference following the inauguration. Zeng Fanxu and Zhang Zhaofang were among the artists present, led by Hao Yuenan of the Chinese Painting Association. The artists sought contact with their German friends from abroad and showed their own work on a laptop one evening at the hotel. The ASK artists from Siegen were very quickly convinced that the joint exhibition of these two artists in particular could be a successful continuation of the friendly relations between the two groups of artists.
Fürst – Johann – Moritz – Str. 1
Opening hours of the exhibition
Thursday to Friday from 2pm to 7pm and by appointment