The World of Lou Zhenggang
Contemporary Iterations of Sung and Yuan Dynasty Painting
There are certain heights that only geniuses can reach. Theirs is a dimension of instinct, of a direct connection prior to conscious thought between mind and body. It may be that all such people are visited by revelations. However, without skills, ideally assimilated at an early age, those revelations may be difficult to realize or come to nothing. Genius appears only through early exposure to training and encounters with extraordinarily inspiring individuals.
Lou Zhenggang was a child prodigy among Chinese calligraphers. Rather than seeking worldly values of fame and wealth, however, she was consumed by the larger question of ‘What is my purpose in this world?’ Her own uninterrupted independent universe was, more than anything else, necessary in order to resolve this question.
She moved to Japan in the 1980s, relinquishing guaranteed social prestige and status in China. In time, she transitioned from ink to paint. She said she just wanted to express herself, to seek answers within herself.
Dynamic splashes, forceful centripetal curves, abundant open space to engage viewer imagination – indeed, the foundation of Sung and Yuan Dynasty Painting* is evident in the world of Lou Zhenggang. Her studio located in Izu, she is able to burnish her sensitivity to the vicissitudes of the sea and nature. Flowing swift lines, brush strokes that seem to unfold freely at random – the passion of an artist having pushed herself to the limit of introspection coalesces in the surge of her internalized technique. Abstraction is inevitable.. This is not extracted from tradition. Modern art has the power to reinvigorate the classics. The few who are able to do this are worthy of being called great masters of art.
Lou Zhenggang’s visceral trajectory flourishes on the canvas. Her strong will and humble disposition coexist in perfect balance. Bold and delicate. A realm where the accidental and the predestined reconcile. Lou Zhenggang’s struggle as a young master continues.
At the same time, she is tirelessly and powerfully revitalizing Sung and Yuan Dynasty painting as never before.
*Sung and Yuan Dynasty Painting: In the 5000 year history of painting in China, Northern Sung, Southern Sung, and Yuan Dynasty painting developed around 1000 years ago (in the 10th–14th centuries). At a time when Western painting was depicting a religious world, Chinese painters depicted nature in a particular spatial representation. In the West, nature was a creation of God. In Sung and Yuan painting, nature was the universe within which humanity resided. In Meiji era Japan (1864 – 1912), Okakura Tenshin, along with his teacher Ernest Fenollosa, regarded Sung and Yuan painting highly and encouraged their appreciation in Japan and the broader world. Sung and Yuan paintings may be considered precursors of present day ‘ecology.’
From May 23, 2020 (Saturday) to June 21 (Sunday)
Venue: Whitestone Gallery, Tokyo
5-1-10 Ginza, Chuo-ky, Tokyo 104-0061, Japan Tel: +81 (03) 3574 6161
Lou Zhenggang was born in Heilongjiang, China in 1966 and learned calligraphy and painting at a young age from her father. Chinese calligraphy circles recognized her as ‘exceptional’ in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1986, she moved to Japan and has long been active and conveying Chinese culture in the international art scene. In a period of 30 years she has had 27 solo and three traveling exhibitions in China, Japan, and the United States. Her contemporary Chinese artworks are included in major museums and private collections. Lou Zhenggang is a highly disciplined artist. She constantly seeks innovative calligraphic and painting techniques and highly expressive material convey her deeply humanistic and unique aesthetic. This is evident in her works in her different series, including Sun & Moon, Life and Love, Heart, All Nature, and Power of Art. With ink as her medium and love and the imaginary space of ‘the universe’ as her inspiration, Lou Zhenggang creates distinctive contemporary abstract art that forges a bond between notions of contemporary art and traditional Chinese art.
1987. Lou Zhenggang solo exhibition, Yaesu Gallery, Tokyo
1989 Lou Zhenggang solo exhibition, Tokyo(supported by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Japan and Nihon Keizai Shimbun, sponsored by TV Tokyo)
1990 Lou Zhenggang solo exhibition, Sogo Department Store seven locations in Japan (Osaka, Kobe, Hiroshima, Nara, Chiba, Kashiwa, and Yokohama ), (supported by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Japan and Nihon Keizai Shimbun, sponsored by TV Tokyo)
1991 Oriental Melody Lou Zhenggang Calligraphy and Paintings, at six Yamaha Group locations in Japan (Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe, Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Hamamatsu)
1993 Lou Zhenggang solo exhibition, United Nations Headquarters, New York (sponsored by UNICEF)
Lou Zhenggang solo exhibition, Mitsukoshi Department Store Art Gallery, Nihonbashi, Tokyo
1996 Lou Zhenggang New Works, New York
1999 1999 Paris China Festival Day exhibition, 8 Lou Zhenggang ink paintings (sponsored by UNESCO)
2000 Lou Zhenggang Works: Life and Love, Ginza Sony Building, Tokyo (sponsored by Fuji TV)
2002 Lou Zhenggang exhibition commemorating the 30th anniversary of normalization of diplomatic relations between China and Japan, Takashimaya Department Store, Tokyo and Osaka (sponsored by Nihon Keizai Shimbun)
2003 Lou Zhenggang Paintings and Calligraphy: Heart, Sogetsu Kaikan, Tokyo (sponsored by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China)
2005 Tanabata solo exhibition, Shinjuku Park Tower, Tokyo
2007 Lou Zhenggang’s World: Words of the Heart, Ueno Royal Museum, Tokyo (sponsored by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China)
2008 Lou Zhenggang 2008: Path of the Heart, Hong Kong Central Plaza (invitation of the Shinhwa Group and the Organizing Committee for the 40th Anniversary of the Hong Kong Community Chest)
2012 Lou Zhenggang solo exhibition, Museum of Contemporary Art, Beijing
2016 Lou Zhenggang: All Nature, Four Seasons Hotel, Hong Kong, and Sultanate of Oman Royal Opera House, Muscat
Power of Art group exhibition charity tour for Great East Japan Earthquake Reconstruction group exhibition with Doug Webb and Takeshi Kitano in Morioka and Sendai (supported by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Japan)
2017 Power of Art, Mirai Project (project for the future) for Great East Japan Earthquake Reconstruction group exhibition with Doug Webb and Kitano Takeshi, Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art, Kobe (supported by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Japan)
2018 Lou Zhenggang: Dream of the Future, Ginza Six, Tokyo
2019 Ever Evolving Asian Artists Vol. 3, Karuizawa New Art Museum
2020 Sun & Moon Series, Lou Zhenggang and Lalique Collaboration (Paris, London, Zurich)
The World of Lou Zhenggang: Song and Yuan Painting as Contemporary Art, Whitestone Gallery, Ginza (supported by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Japan)