You could say it’s the disruptive collision of new and old as Chinese painter Lan Zhenghui creates a new wave during a U.S. residency and lecture tour this Fall. To personally witness America’s confrontation of ideas, the 59 year old Chinese artist strategically scheduled his New York residency and U.S. lecture tour to create a new body of work in the U.S. during one of its most turbulent periods ever.
“I want a front-row seat to personally witness this historic confrontation of ideas, politics and culture happening in the United States,” said Lan Zhenghui, one of China’s leading contemporary artists. “The new artwork I create while living in America during this will reflect the spirit of my art, which has always been about the collision of old traditions and new ideas.” Strategically scheduling his visit to the U.S. from September 2016 through January 2017, Lan Zhenghui will create new artwork during a six-month studio residency at Mana Contemporary.
The artist is also presenting a series of lectures throughout the U.S. that has included invitations to speak at the Rubell Family Collection, Florida International University’s College of Architecture + The Arts, and the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA).
He is renowned worldwide as one of the first artists to catapult the ancient Chinese traditions of heavy ink painting with electrifying contemporary abstract expressionism. During his six months in the U.S., Lan Zhenghui will create a new body of work that reflects his immersion into a period that promises to be unlike any other in America’s history.
Launching the “Power Brush” movement, Lan Zhenghui’s new interpretation of free-hand strokes in heavy ink painting, infuses traditional Chinese techniques with a fresh blast of contemporary abstract expressiveness, resulting in breathtaking masterworks on enormous panels. Zhenghui brings this revolutionary technique to the US this fall with a series of workshops and lectures all over the country. Just prior to his visit, Z’Scoop’s Kim Coston spoke with the artist.
KC: Who inspires you?
LZ: Masters including Liang Kai-Song Dynasty, Kakejiku-Japan, Xuwei-Ming Dynasty, and contemporary Chinese artist Zhang Daqian. Also, Bauhaus, contemporary abstract expressionism and color-field painting. And, I collect all kinds of brand advertising-shopping bags, company bags, and have one of the largest collections in the world. All of these influences together help me create something of my own.
KC: Who are your favorite abstract expressionists?
LZ: Franz Kline shows structural and comparative beauty, a valuable abstract expression and emotional release, and inspires my current structural expression. Willem De Kooning’s incisive and vivid color expression is also full of structural tension. Motherwell is another scholarly artist I like.
KC: Can you preview what you will create during your US residency?
LZ: A series of propylene paintings on black and white fabric, an expression of personal NY experiences, with the oriental melancholic profoundness of being in a new foreign environment.
KC: In 20 years of research, how have you successfully reconstructed traditional ink art with new technique?
LZ: I found that by solving some serious problems with ink painting I could accent my expressive force, and be able to develop this new methodology that differs from traditional thinking.
Lan Zhenghui was discovered by Donald and Mera Rubell during their extensive searches in China to find the right contemporary artists for their “28 Chinese” exhibit project. He will be in residence at Mana Contemporary, one of the largest and most innovative contemporary art organizations in the US from September 2016 to January 2017.
Mana Contemporary Museum
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