Hauser & Wirth has added to its roster Zeng Fanzhi, who is widely regarded as one of China’s most important contemporary artists. (Zeng is also currently represented by Gagosian Gallery and ShanghART Gallery, and a release notes that he will continue to maintain a relationship with both operations.) Hauser & Wirth has planned its first exhibition with Zeng for this fall, with the first volume of a catalogue raisonné due out this summer.
Zeng has become known for an ongoing series of works known as the “Mask” paintings, in which people don masks so that viewers can’t see their facial expressions. For the artist, these figurative works have been a means for showing that pain, sadness, and distress are suppressed by those in power in modern-day China. Other series by Zeng have combined art-historical traditions, often resulting in a kind of abstraction that marries Western and non-Western styles.
His work has been a hit with collectors, both in China and abroad. In 2013, Zeng’s painting The Last Supper broke the auction record for the most expensive work by an Asian contemporary artist when it sold for $23.3 million at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong. And his work has developed a following with museums as well. Zeng has been the subject of numerous institutional surveys, most notably a 2016 exhibition at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing.
Iwan Wirth, the president and cofounder of Hauser & Wirth, said in a statement, “I have admired Zeng Fanzhi’s painting for very many years, and I really could not be more thrilled to announce our collaboration. I am excited to have the opportunity to exhibit and promote Zeng to our global network, and to craft a strong legacy for his astounding work. On the eve of Hauser & Wirth’s opening in China, I am pleased that Zeng will be taking this next important step along with us.