Monday, 24 August 2015

"Fan Zeng - The Symphony of Civilizations" Exhibition

There are many kind of revolutions, more or less dramatic, redeeming and noisy, an obvious display of the time that passes by.
But, among the changes of political, cultural and social development, that are things that never change, that can't change.
The work of Fan Zeng is one of those, one of those thing that let us to talk about this energic old man as a "Classic Artist" of China, even if he was born on 1939.
This exhibition celebrates the 45th Anniversary of the relationships between China and Italy, but truth is, as Fan Zeng himself states with his artworks, that the relationship between China and Italy were still strong and bountiful since the old times, as the travels of Marco Polo and the evangelization of Matteo Ricci proved.
Yet after the advent of Communism and the systematic closure from the West some patching was required, and what's better that the soft, blended lines of the artworks of Fan Zeng, by definition portrait of a sensitivity the was left unchanged throught the centuries, since appealing from both parts?

The exhibition is set in a hall of the Vittoriano, and you can really get that "institutional vibe" which is typically Chinese, starting from the gigantic blow-up of the artist at the entrance, the short movie that introduces us his artistic life to the impressive biography destined to tell us about the his pedigree and the "non-meaning" behind his paintings-- Then we enter the exhibition, we're shown his artworks, and all the pride of the Chinese sponsorships fades immediately, you look at the artworks dumbfounded, and you embrace the discreet and onirical visions of the artist, perfectly aware of why he was picked for the task of strenghtening our bonds.

You look at the artworks and you understand that the figures of Fan Zeng breath the same fresh air that you breath, that they dream and see the same dreams and visions that you wish to see, that they live exactly how you'd love to live.
It's a beautiful and inspiring walk around symbols, visions and suggestions that blatantly speak of "China", but can be recognized and appreciate by every human being on this planet. The personality of the author disappears, it's just a "mean" to express what already "exists" even if not "visible": "the representation of wisdom", as the official website says.

Fan Zeng is, obviously, also a famous calligrapher.
Some of his most intriguing pieces sported a gold decoration of Imperial vibe, and most of his artworks mantain that "sketchy" look typical of artistic writing-- So maybe every now and then, even Fan Zeng in his Zen stillness can afford to show us some of his personality..?

Yet, the funniest "intermissions", the actual contribution to the meeting of the two cultures, is to find in the portrayals and interpretation of Fan Zeng of his "favourite" Western personalities: Einstein, Ibsen, Michelangelo, or those strictly connected to Italian culture, like Marco Polo, Paganini, the friendly conversation between Matteo Ricci and Xu Guangqi and the redeeming rapture of Beatrice and Dante to Heaven:

An interesting exhibition that I suggest you to visit if you want to see beautiful artworks and if you want to test your open-mindness and sensitivity!

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