Chunya Zhou (b. 1955)
This Lot has been sourced from overseas. When au… Read more
Zhou Chunya (b.1955)

Two TT

Zhou Chunya (b.1955)
Two TT
signed in Chinese; signed 'Zhou Chunya'in Pinyin; dated 2007
oil on canvas
200 x 250 cm. (78 3/4 x 98 7/16 in.)
Painted in 2007
Sotheby's New York, 17 March 2008, Lot 139
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Jakarta, Indonesia, the National Gallery of Indonesia, Green Dog- Zhou Chunya , January 2008
Special notice
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Lot Essay

Zhou Chunya's Green Dog Series from 1995 to 1997 is regarded as another important benchmark in his artist career. He depicts different appearances of his German Shepard Hagen solely in a green shade, a colour that is visually surreal, exciting and peaceful, thus inaugurating a bold pictorial contrast that is often seen as the new peak in his expressionist style. The works from Green Dogs series created after 2000 are no longer figurative but ostentatious - since Hagen had passed away - while the form and expression of the dogs have become more carefree and abstract. The focus of his artistic expressions switched from the use of colours and texture to the structure of form and volume. 'I put more emphasis on the interesting elements of sculpture as a painting is not only about an image but a sculpture on canvas," he commented on his concept of this series.

In the history of art masters such as Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci during the Renaissance had debated over the relations between sculptures and paintings. Some of them even considered art a piece of wisdom rather than merely a tool for showing off professional techniques. In the paintings of Zhou, he realizes all these philosophies. Unification and opposition exist in the universe; therefore absolute elimination of opposition is not the way to achieve harmony. On the contrary, harmony is a result of recognising and retaining such contrary to strike for a balance between conflicts. Viewers can take it into consideration that every form of art i s only a medium; the philosophical ideology that reaches so much deeper into appearance is what one should search for. The artist tries to present the solid composition of green dogs on a canvas, while it also is an expression of the artist's emotion and belief.

The green dogs are painted with brushstrokes of cun, rubbing and twisting. Colours are tussled together in a complicated way, corresponding to Zhou's theory of the "up and down with surprising turn" and "rhythm of material form". It demonstrates the volume of sculpture and highlights the delicate alternation of the green shade, making the use of colours and brushstrokes a fascinating element while featuring the emotion and personality of the artist. The two dogs are presented in a symmetrical composition that demonstrates Zhou's comprehensive knowledge on modern sculpture as well as his unique treatment in illustrating the essence of such art form. This painting is reminiscent of Deep Body Blue by American minimalist sculptor Anthony Caro that explores the diversity and infinity of the visual experience through sculpted objects.

The title Two TT (Lot 37) reveals the artist's intention to express his thoughts which go far beyond the figurative shapes and symbols. "TT" are not the English alphabets but two vertical lines. Zhou believes that our perception towards art should never be limited since what we see might not fundamentally exist as it appears to be. Being painted with slanting strokes in Chinese calligraphy, the green dogs in the painting are barely figurative; they have been fused through Zhou's spontaneous use of paint and colours.

Two TT distinguishes itself from Zhou's previous green dogs paintings and the "V" shape is neither the English alphabet nor a junction of parallel lines. It is actually a combination of two dogs that denotes the artist's definition of art and life that is often seen in the theme of his works. The inventive use of leaving background blank sets the green dogs against a white backdrop, stressing the power of colours and volume of sculpture. The objects are presented in a way similar to the setting of minimalist sculptures in front of a white background to offer a deeper and pure experience for viewers. Zhou Chunya employs his unique artistic expression in converting the use of white space in traditional Chinese paintings. Inserting itself as an indomitable state of existence that makes Green Dogs Series a representation of existentialism and symbolism, Two TT reveals the existence of individuals and true philosophy in life.

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