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Ancient Technique, Modern Expression

Emily Allen

As times change and ways of thinking collide, Americans face a gripping new era. With collision of competing ideals comes an existential question of identity, which is precisely what artist Lan Zhenghui has set out to explore. As he says, he wants “a front row seat to personally witness this pivotal time when society is hungry for more authenticity.” He has scheduled a tour of the United States to indeed achieve a front row seat and to create a body of work inspired by this societal movement while stateside. 

As his interests and goals imply, innovation is his forte. His reputation in China as a “game-changer” of art certainly confirms this innovative spirit. He seeks to create works based on the changing times in the United States, at the intersection of old traditions and new ideas. The undoubtedly interesting works will reflect this tumultuous time in the American ideology, and will represent the spirit of his art as a whole, which has always centered around the collision of tradition and innovation. 

The collision of old and new manifests in his unique ability to dovetail the modernism of abstract expressionism with the traditionalism of Chinese ink painting. He seamlessly marries an ancient Chinese cultural art form with a contemporary American style, creating works that leave a poignant impression about the dynamic nature of progress and cultural evolution. 

Lan Zhengui will reside in New York City from September of this year until January of next, during which time he will embark on a lecture tour. He plans to visit several universities, museums, and galleries across the nation during his stay. On the agenda so far, he will spend six months in studio residency at Mana Contemporary, and will present lectures at the Rubell Family Collection, Florida International University’s College of Architecture and The Arts, and Maryland Institute College of Art.

Next week we chat with the artist and ask him a few questions, stay tuned!

By Emily Allen

Photos Courtesy of the artist