For the Love of Cézanne, Morandi and Sanyu

Why We Recommend it

Curated by Chinese artist Zeng Fanzhi, this exhibition showcases the evolution contemporary painting through a selection of works by Cézanne, Morandi and Sanyu.



I have always believed that painting is concerned with visual observation—a process that primarily relies on seeing and feeling rather than on language. I hope that viewers can become aware of this process and that they themselves are able to understand painting through observation, in the process unlocking their own unique perspectives.

—Zeng Fanzhi

Cézanne, Morandi, and Sanyu is curated according to observations that Beijing-based, Wuhan-born artist Zeng Fanzhi (b.1964) has made when studying the works of these three masters. Cézanne, Morandi, and Sanyu have stimulated Zeng’s love for painting and helped him to resolve many problems in his own work.

To Zeng, colour, form and subject are tightly intertwined in French Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne’s work, and this is what separates his perspective from that of his predecessors. Italian painter Giorgio Morandi further developed this technique, through his use of both the horizon line and purposefully pale colours to blur the boundaries between the abstract and the figurative, geometry and flesh. Chinese-French painter Sanyu’s approach to painting is remarkably similar to both Cézanne’s and Morandi’s; however, his method is inherently Eastern—he uses oils to paint the inks in his heart.

A visual trajectory can be traced between these three artists’ works. It not only inspires subsequent artists, but also continually challenges the viewer to interpret painting anew.

Zeng as a contemporary artist re-explores the celebrated painters to trace how paintings come to be where it is today. Contemporary paintings often place importance on the present and the future, but this does not stop artists from seeking links with the past as well. As he puts it, “Innovation is not simply plucked out of thin air”.


When: 26 Mar 2019 - 11 May 2019 Where: Gagosian, 7/F Pedder Building – 12 Pedder Street – Central