ZENG XIAOJUN (b. 1954)
Ink on paper, 2003
Dimensions: image: 60 inches high, 33 ¾ inches wide.
scroll: 96 ½ inches high, 37 ½ inches wide.
Zeng Xiaojun’s landscapes offer a modern take on a favored theme of classical scholars. Whereas the landscape paintings of Ming Dynasty literati, with whom Zeng identifies, portray the vastness of nature and its infinite grandeur, Zeng’s bold rendering of mountains and rivers foreshorten distance and bring them surprisingly close to the viewer. Their visual immediacy makes them more forceful, and more intimate. With sharply etched vegetation crawling over the rockscape, this modern Chinese master creates a fresh look for a venerated traditional subject.
As one of the best-known and most important contemporary ink painters active in China today, Zeng Xiaojun was born in Beijing in 1954 and spent his teenage years living amidst the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution. He attended the Central Art and Craft Academy of Beijing, from which he graduated in 1981. In 1983, Zeng Xiaojun moved to the United States, taking up residence in Boston. In 1997, he returned to Beijing, where he now lives and works. An avid collector of Ming and Qing furniture as well as scholar’s objects, Zeng Xiaojun has been called a modern-day “asesthete-Renaissance man.” Zeng Xiaojun’s art is in many private and public collections, including the permanent collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art. In 2012, he will be featured in an exhibition with Liu Dan at the Musée Guimet in Paris.