Zao Wou-Ki, Space is silence
Dominique Vautrin

#PARIS The Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris is devoting a major retrospective to the painter Zao Wou-Ki.His first name means “limitless”, omen or not?

Born in Beijing in 1920, he studied at the School of Fine Arts in Hangzhou and very quickly decided to focus on Western oil painting techniques.

Zao Wou-Ki left China in 1948 to come to Paris and then split his time between the United States and France The exhibition’s scenography presents the painter’s journey through four rooms. We stroll through a selection of forty large works, some of which are still unpublished Zao Wou-Ki is undoubtedly an artist at the crossroads of several worlds. His abstract works in “classical” format, which are not unlike those of the more traditional Chinese, will gradually change to very large formats, especially after his American trip in 1957.

Zao Wou-Ki belongs to the Parisian scene that he appreciates and that he knew how to seduce as soon as he arrived in the capital, by the finesse of his line. However, it was Paul Klee’s discovery in the mid-1950s and then the discovery of American artists of Action Painting that led him to turn definitively to abstraction.He noticed and became interested very early on in the “vitality” of American painting. But his Chinese culture is part of his approach and he refines a unique style, fluid, poetic and dramatic at the same time.His work of compositions crosses the aesthetic debates that will mark the development of modern art.

Zao Wou-Ki dies in 2013, one of his last triptychs “The Han Temple” is currently on display at the Museum of Modern Art.


Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris

Zao Wou-Ki:Space is silence

From June 1, 2018 to January 06, 2019