Zao Wou-Ki (Zhao Wuji)
- Zao Wou-Ki (Zhao Wuji)
- signed in Chinese and Pinyin and dated 78
- ink on paper
The colours and light of xuan paper are like the exceedingly gentle tranquility after a violent storm.
- Zao Wou-ki
Zao Wou-ki, who learnt calligraphy from his grandfather at a young age, was very proficient in the ink medium. During his studies at the Hangzhou Fine Arts Academy, he also trained himself in ink. He deliberately shunned the medium in his first years in Paris to avoid being typecast as a Chinese ink painter. Between the 1970s and 2000, ink was an arena for his uninhibited expression. He attempted to free himself from the chains of tradition in the 1940's, enlisted tradition as a means to innovation in the 50's, developed his personal abstract style in the 60's, and again engaged tradition in the 70's. This time, however, the ink tradition was not an inspiration only in intellectual or aesthetic terms; Zao began to use again paper and ink in his practice, immersing himself in their play of solid and void. In October, 1994, he was received and awarded the Praemium Imperiale by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan at the Meiji Memorial Hall. Zao Wou-ki visited Japan several times during his life, purchasing the bamboo paper used in lots 1011, 1013, and 1015 from a Japanese paper store serving the Japanese imperial family. Earlier, Zhang Daqian had also purchased ink and paper from this store.