For some time now I have admired a stunning, and rather large piece of Chinese art that hangs above the dining table in Karin and Wei’s Melbourne home. They affectionately refer to it as “My Concubine”, but I now know it by the artist’s name “China Auspicious No. 2”. I think I prefer “My Concubine”.
She is gorgeous don’t you think?
In Beijing we were privileged to meet the artist, Mr Zhou Yingchao, at his private studio in one of the City’s outer North Eastern suburbs. Wei and Karin have built a personal friendship with Mr Zhou, and he was happy to greet us at his studio and show us more of his work. What a treat!
Our visit to Mr Zhou’s studio was made all the more enjoyable through the attendance of Vera Saiko, a Russian born, Canadian Artist, who is also a friend of Karin and Wei and happened to be in town on this same day. Vera was on her way to display her work at a 4 day art fair in Shenzhen.
Imagine the conversation that took place – two artists sharing stories via our wonderful translator, Wei. The conversation ranged from technique, to colour, to medium, to style, but most interesting, was the conversation about abstract works and the artists’ philosophical beliefs and their inner drive and passion. That evening we complemented Wei on his marvelous translation skills. He had a little laugh and said…….. “was I a good translator or a masterful puppeteer?” Perhaps we were only imagining the conversation?
Recently, Croation, Mr Ante Glibota (Mr Zhou’s European agent) had this to say about the Artist. “I have become acutely aware of his unique character, initially through his verve, his vivacious spirit, his piercing eyes, his smile and his obvious commitment to the millennium-long tradition of Chinese art…….Zhou Yingchao is a creator, endowed with a deep sense of culture, an extensive knowledge of poetry and literature and a great familiarity with ancient Chinese culture, yet he has never lost his profound modesty, his natural kindness, his vivacious spirit and his artistic and intellectual pertinence.”
After our personal meeting with Mr Zhou, I have to agree with Ante’s description. His modesty, his intellect, his spirit, and of course, his extreme talent sets him apart as one of the best Chinese contemporary artists of our time.
After spending the afternoon enjoying his amazing portfolio of “realism” styled work, I was surprised when he revealed his favourite, an abstract piece titled “Chinese Spirit No.4”. Its his take on Yin and Yang. The picture does not do it justice.
If only I could afford a piece of his work.