Exposition Hans Hartung, galerie A&R Fleury

A&R Fleury gallery presents « Beyond color », a solo show of the Chinese artist Mao Lizi, one of the fouding members of the avant-garde Stars group. In their second space on Avenue Matignon opened in october 2018, A&R Fleury gallery brings together over thirty works never shown before in France of the Chinese painter Mao Lizi.

Mao Lizi, Ambiguous Flower

MAO LIZI, A PAINTER OF THE AVANT-GARDE

Mao Lizi - his true name Zhang Zhunli - was born in 1950 in the Chinese province of Shanxi.

Before receiving any formal artistic education, Mao Lizi made his first works in chalk, spontaneously sketching on the walls and floors of his childhood houses. During these years, he was deeply influenced by a visit to the Forbidden City where he discovered ink works depicting bunches of grapes by the Ming dynasty painter Xu Wei.

Archive image, the Stars group, Beijing 1979

“They seemed to my eyes to be drops of ink fallen at random on the paper. The beauty of this work lay in its simplicity. It was an awakening for me. All along my career as a painter, I have sought to transmit this sense.”

In 1979, Mao Lizi entered the artistic scene in China as a founding member of the Stars group.

In 1990, Mao Lizi moved to Paris where he was guest lecturer at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts. This period marked a shift towards a more conceptual approach and use of larger formats.

In 2000, after 10 years living in Paris, Mao Lizi returned to Beijing, drawn by the contemporary developments in his native China.

ABSTRACTION, A QUEST FOR ESSENTIAL BEAUTY

« I want to paint a sensation both new and to which something inside of us responds to instinctively. It doesn’t seem real, and yet it is. » In these brief words, Mao Lizi transmits to us his personal approach to abstraction, progressively more present in his work before becoming its sole focus around the turn of the millennium.

Mao Lizi

Abandoning his early hyperrealist phase, the recent works of Mao Lizi are notable for their physical relation to matter. The rhythm of the work lies in the tension between the starkness of the bare canvas and the rapid, powerful brushstrokes. A rhythmic and decisive gesture of the artist, the paint exploded onto the canvas, lead to indefinable, unique evocations.

A work from Mao Lizi's hyperrealist period, Oil on canvas, 130x195cm, 2008

“Before letting the drops of paint fall on the canvas, I think carefully about the structure of the work. Yet to a certain extent I cannot control the final outcome. There are so many uncertainties, which are also new possibilities and new paths to explore.”

Density of color, powerful gesture, rhythmic composition, symbolic language: Mao Lizi’s work, a true visual philosophy, draws the viewer into a meditative journey. Going beyond the conventions of academic Chinese painting, Mao Lizi creates a subtle art form in which simplicity, the idea that less is more, is expressed through poetic and elegant compositions offering numerous evocative possibilities.