DAIX Pierre – Extract from Zao Wou-Ki – L’œuvre (Zao Wou-Ki – Artwork) 1935-1993, Ides et Calendes Editions, Neuchâtel, Switzerland, 1994 (pp. 7-12).

"Although very diverse, Zao Wou-Ki’s paintings bear, since he created his personal language at the beginning of the second half of the 20th century, his signature at every point of their composition, like the seal of an art in a strange country where spaces coming from the field of cosmology and the signs of ancient China merge with spaces created from the modern riddance, in the West, from perspective, from Cezanne to this lyrical abstraction which rapidly expanded after the Second World War. Thus there is a strange stretch of time, since the latter seems never to cease in his paintings, between the first displays of this Chinese characteristic to convey in art the breath of the universe and the end of our century. There is no such thing as progress in art and Zao Wou-Ki knows it better than anyone else. One only needs to hear him enthuse when looking at the most ancient three-base wine containers discovered from the Bronze Age in China among Neolithic objects, as well as the Tang painters or primitive calligraphy (the most spontaneous calligraphy). However, if it is true that there is no progress, then the artist who does not bear in him the vision of his time can only remain an epigone. Wou-Ki’s painting is in line with the immemorial tradition of Chinese art, because, rather than following it, it brings forth questions about the meaning of art, and more precisely, the meaning of painting. Such questions arose from our Western modernism and the revolutions occurred in painting when it broke free, in France, from the masterpieces of the Renaissance considered as unsurpassable. (…)".

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