DE CORTANZE Gerard - Extract from ‘ Zao Wou-Ki, le peintre qui regarde autrement’ (Zao Wou-Ki, the painter who looks at things differently) in Zao Wou-Ki, Yves Bonnefoy and Gerard de Cortanze, La Différence Edition – Enrico Navarra, Paris, France, 1998 (pp. 52-53).

"(…) I am thinking of a canvas displaying intensity close to epiphany: 12.10.70. A wide field of vibratory green, a vacant space full of racket, a breach in the forest, a corner of sky taken over by leaves, a cave, the sketch of an ascending movement. And moreover, a great joy, a delight. This is odd. Zao Wou-Ki, despite not being religious, reaches in some of his paintings a joy bordering on religiousness. The universe is there, undoubtedly, vibrant with energy. This painting, like some others, re-creates life, gives life a meaning and allows a piece of holiness to inhabit our human condition. The canvas absorbs the being, swallowing it up and demonstrating the power of the universe. Where does this power come from? How can one put in harmony to such an extent the sky and the earth and give it to man? Paul Klee, in his journal, reminisces the light and shadow as the material of the graphic world, reminds us that the painter, preoccupied with the form, understands that there is a « remnant ». This « remnant » represents awaken consciousness and creation, helps to make one’s way through the formal approach, keeps hope between the visible and the invisible, the perishable and the imperishable. In such desire to paint, the movement may be motionless but in this case, its stillness will be the stillness of a mirror and its answer, the answer of the echo. Zao Wou-Ki sets a mirror and gets in some resonance. In the studio, when I am looking at the painting, I can touch this stillness with my fingers and I am captured by the echo, and when Zao Wou-Ki talks, I am filled with emotion. His painting opens up another world that I already knew without being aware. The painter puts me before the field of Sacred which outlines the distance that keeps me apart from it and offers to shorten it and, thus, making it more human. (…)".       

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