No powerpoint can ever offer you the right entrance door to Chinese Identity. To come closer to this door and maybe open it a little bit, The Global Journal went in by the artists’ entrance and decided to ask the Master of the Mask, painter Zeng Fanzghi to help. In some ways, he is the perfect artist to talk to: he lives in Beijing –and loves it– and he does not speak much, as he expresses himself mostly through his paintings. Words are a small part of his life, a secondary concern. He was kind enough to provide a few of them to help us.

Emotion in his painting is his daily challenge. He has extraordinary talent, whose greatness will last through time. Zeng is an artist with no escape lane, he confronts life through his art. Fabien Bryn, a friend and avid collector of his work, describes the artist as having an “affable and serene personality, a professional work ethic, impeccable taste in everything from art to fashion to wine, a broad knowledge of art history, and kindness and generosity in friendship.” This is already part of what is, to our eyes, the Chinese Identity.

Zeng Fanzhi’s paintings have broken sales records: for example, in Hong Kong, in 2008, when ‘Mask Series N° 6, 1996’ went to its new owner for 9.7 million US dollars. We can only expect that such an artist will continue to gain influence and mastery. To enter Chinese Identity through Zeng Fanzhi’s door, one has first to look at his paintings, his ‘voie royale’, then listen to his words. Very few, very rare, but fresh and striking. Very Chinese indeed.

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