Zhou Chunya
(Chinese, B. 1955)
We Come from Germany
signed in Chinese; signed 'Zhou Chunya' in Pinyin; dated '2008' (lower right); titled 'Ich komme aus' in German (lower left)
oil on canvas
200 x 250 cm. (78 3/4 x 98 1/2 in.)
Painted in 2008
Beijing Art Now Gallery, Beijing, China
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Timezone 8 Ltd., Zhou Chunya, Shanghai, China, 2010 (illustrated, p. 399).
ChinaToday Gallery, Zhou Chunya: Flora and Fauna, Brussels, Belgium, 2010 (illustrated, pp. 44-45).

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Eric Chang
Eric Chang

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Lot Essay

Zhou Chunya began incorporating neo-Expressionistic elements in his work during his graduate studies at the Kassel Academy in Germany. Since then, Zhou's works have displayed a combination of Chinese motifs and concepts with a highly personal expressionism, using the experiences and reflections of his daily life as inspiration, most notably his beloved, late German Shepherd, Heigen, the main subject of his most recognized Green Dog series of more than ten years which he has elaborated in both paint and sculptural forms. Zhou returned to China in 1993 and adopted Heigen from his old friend, famous Chinese ink painter, Cen Xuegong. A breed originating from Germany, Heigen as a subject serves as homage to Zhou's experience abroad and reminds the viewer of the artist's development in Germany.

During Zhou's time with Heigen, he delved into literati painting and often created works in oil with Heigen as his loyal sitter. In We Come From Germany (Lot 417), Zhou re-enforces the combination of traditional Chinese painting with buoyant brushstrokes in shades of red and green that best displays the artist's expressionistic style. Zhou has stated that the colour green "contains a tranquillity right before an explosion," and the sitting dogs against the white, desolate background projects a sense of uncertainty, representative of the realities in life. While Heigen and Zhou's friendship was short, the canine companion represented the heart of his subjects, and his evolution as a subject is the core of Zhou's artistic progression. Painted in 2008, Heigen re-emerges onto Zhou's canvas again in We Come From Germany, no longer present to serve his master in his study of artistic practice, but becomes a projection of the artist himself, released to be a freer spirit as he looks out of the canvas to viewers.

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