MANESSIER Alfred - Foreword for the catalogue of the exhibition Zao Wou-Ki at the Museum Folgwang in Essen, Museum Folkwang Editions, Essen, Germany, 1965.
"Wou-Ki, my friend,
You came to us through your intimate landscapes, simultaneously distant and close, ancient and surprisingly new – at the heart of the mystery of the world – revealing by your finesse and your spirit (Pascal would have said « l’Esprit du Cœur » (Reasoning of the Heart), what reconciles much more than what divides.
How could you with such ease come and break for us your tradition like a kernel at springtime? Now, the seed, burying itself in another ground, sprouts into the sky of the World.
Faithful Wou-Ki, carrying the testimony of the world Unity, a unity and a truth immeasurably diverse in traditions, men and feelings, although infinitely simple and ONE by way of the Spirit that fills the heart and leads the hand.
Abruptly, through you, Fan K’ouan has the same gesture as Rembrandt; Cezanne spreads the same luminosity as Mi-Fei and Ni-Tsan ; finally, as the painters’ great family gathers, the foreigner discovers himself a brother.
Dear Wou-Ki, faithful to the human Reasoning of the Heart – for all mankind – this is what makes you the unique and intercontinental painter who I love and admire.
….. Of course, Art represents risk, or else, it would not exist. However, how perilous this thread must be, that you stretch from one point in the world to the other – from one point in time to the other – Zao Wou-Ki, prophetic painter of the world desperate for unity."