MICHAUX, Henri – Extract from the catalogue of the exhibition Zao Wou-Ki at the Cadby-Birch Gallery in New York, United States, 1952

Text written for the catalogue of the exhibition Zao Wou-Ki at the Hanover Gallery in London, 1952

“… Therefore the lightness in Zao Wou-Ki’s work should not, without mistake, be compared to such lightness in the West

When we see a technique close to a modern Western artist’s, it nevertheless follows his Chinese path, similar to the murmur of his native language, a path that is free from authority.

The delicate strokes of his zigzag picture, mixing up multiple times the bushes, the boats and the men, seem to have been traced on the back of the uneven weft of a curtain.

Unfaithfully accurate, they render the landscape without tracking it and, through slight overlapping as twigs, animate the background.

If he happens to be painting a vase, the latter, instead of being depicted with manliness or positively modeled, seems instead to have been slowly, incompletely travelled over by a beetle’s claw and re-created, not so much by the artist than by the cooperation of a trembling insect. 

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