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MANESSIER Alfred 1965

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."

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RAGON Michel 1962

RAGON Michel – Extract from « Zao Wou-Ki » in Cimaise, n° 57, Paris, January - February 1962 (p. 34).

Text translated into Spanish for the catalogue of Zao Wou-Ki exhibition in Cuadernos de arte del Ateneo, Madrid, Spain, 1962

(…) "When looking at the contemporary paintings by Zao Wou-Ki, one thinks of landscapes, indefinite, blurred landscapes, in other words, Chinese landscapes. Not Zao Wou-Ki. In the past, at the time when he was a figurative painter, he used to fill out sketchbooks that served as memos for future paintings. These days, he no longer makes sketches from nature. Probably because the nature shown in his painting is deep inside of him and, involuntarily, when he finds himself in front of the white canvas, he creates the landscape of his dreams.

(…) Everything merges, everything comes together, and everything transforms itself. Had Cezanne not understood the world in the manner of Chinese wise men when he would say that his desire was to "unite women’s curves with the shoulders of the hills". Cezanne who, in the end, always painted apples, in the meaning fruit or the hills of Aix or of the "Baigneuses" (Women bathers). As to Cezanne’s work, everything was conveying to this archetype, this curve, this open circle. According to Zao Wou-Ki, landscape, painting, the world, the cosmos, the sea, the nature, all now merge into a single entity (…)."

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