UCCA Beijing

Zeng Fanzhi: Behind the Mask


Location:  Auditorium
Language:  Chinese with English translation

For the first public day of “Zeng Fanzhi: Parcours,” UCCA invites Johnson Chang (Co-founder, Asia Art Archive), Pi Li (Senior Curator, M+ Museum), and Richard Shiff (Effie Marie Cain Regents Chair in Art, University of Texas at Austin) to discuss the artist’s largest and most comprehensive exhibition to date, bringing viewers along the artist’s creative journey as well as introducing the greater development of Chinese contemporary art over the past thirty years. UCCA also screens Zeng Fanzhi: YOU Art Project, an up-close study showing the artist in the process of creating one of his signature paintings.

With an artistic career that stretches nearly the thirty years—roughly the same length as the history of Chinese contemporary art—Zeng has continuously sought his own style in mediums that include oil painting, sculpture, and now works on paper. Having presented major solo shows in Singapore, Hong Kong, London, Paris, and New York, Zeng was among the first Chinese contemporary artists to be featured in foreign exhibitions. Beginning with “Xiehe Hospital” series and “Mask” series, Zeng Fanzhi captured the attention of art critics. The compositions of “Xiehe Hospital” series allude to Christian religious triptychs, expressing the cycle of life and death through a tragedy of the flesh and spirit. “Mask” series begins with a group portraits and gradually shifts towards individual portraits, contemplating the relationship between individuals and society, especially during times of great change. Johnson Chang and Pi Li have both written extensively about the development of Zeng’s artistic career, with special consideration paid to these two series. Richard Shiff has also followed Zeng’s creative output, the “Abstract Landscape” series in particular.

Ticketing: Free

*Reservations required. Space is limited. Please call +86 10 5780 0200 from Monday to Sunday 10:00-18:00 to book.


*Collect your ticket from reception 30 minutes before the event begins;

*Please no late entry;

*Seating is limited, and tickets must be collected individually;

*Please keep mobile devices on silent.


Richard Shiff (Effie Marie Cain Regents Chair in Art, University of Texas at Austin)

Effie Marie Cain Regents Chair in Art at University of Texas at Austin, where he directs the Center for the Study of Modernism. His broad range of publications includes Cézanne and the End of Impressionism, 1984; Critical Terms for Art History, co-edited, 1996, 2003; Barnett Newman: A Catalogue Raisonné, co-authored, 2004; Doubt, 2008; Between Sense and de Kooning, 2011; and Ellsworth Kelly: New York Drawings 1954-1962, 2014. He has written on the art of Zeng Fanzhi on several occasions.

Johnson Chang (Co-founder, Asia Art Archive)

Co-founder of Asia Art Archive, collector, gallery owner

Pi Li (Senior Curator, M+ Museum)

Pi Li (b. 1974, Wuhan) graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) where he taught in the department of arts management. Since March 2012, he has been senior curator of M+ Museum and currently lives in Hong Kong.