Shanghai Daily Newspaper retraces Feng Xiao-Min’s artistic journey

From Jiangnan to Paris an artist’s journey:

In recent years, Chinese artist Feng Xiaomin has acquired a reputation on the global art scene, following in the steps of two other big-name Chinese artists, Zao Wou-ki (1921-2013) and Chu Teh-Chun (1920-2014).

In 1948, Zao went to Paris, and seven years later, Chu arrived in the city. Like his two predecessors, Feng also left China and settled down in Paris in 1988. Today Feng’s art is distinctively placed at luxury hotels, such as the Langham, Shanghai, Xintiandi and the Sukhothai Shanghai, in the heart of the city’s business and entertainment district.

His solo-exhibition early this year at the Opera Gallery in Hong Kong received high acclaim. Founded in Paris in 1994 by Gilles Dyan, the Opera Gallery is one of the leading international dealers of contemporary art with 13 branches around the world.

Last month, Feng came back from Paris to Shanghai for a short stay in the city where he was born and bred.

“In fact, I met both Zao and Chu in Paris,” Feng said with a smile. “Yet we seldom talked about art but chatted like longlost friends. Perhaps we all agree art is not something to be taught.”

Born in 1959 in Shanghai, Feng, the youngest of three, grew up in a wealthy family of intellectuals. His grandfather was a noted banker.  “So my mother was quite strict with us,” Feng recalled. “She was particularly keen on our manners including table manners or how to receive a visitor to our family.”

At the age of 6, he began to learn Chinese calligraphy. He later became an ink wash painter, achieving a certain amount of fame in the early 1980s.

However the 20-year-old at that time wanted to see the bigger world outside and tried his luck on Paris. He studied at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, abandoning the medium of ink for oil and acrylic colors.

Color became the soul in his paintings from then on. Although Feng attributes the color palette in his painting to the influence of European Impressionists who use color distinctively in their oil paintings, he says some of his inspiration indeed comes from the Jiangnan region of China — the area south of the lower
reaches of the Yangtze.

His work captures its foggy atmosphere during the sunset and at dawn and dusk. Feng also says that his painting owes much to his roots, particularly in the field of calligraphy.

His work is not pure abstract, but rather “paysagisme abstrait,” meaning abstract landscape, a term employed by Michel Ragon, when referring to Zao. Tufts of wild grasses, beds of sparse undergrowth, wandering paths, scrubby trees, deserted beaches, blue or overcast skies, unidentifiable structures, distant gates, summery impressions, and misty winter morning… all recalling past memories of escape or contemplation. “Vacancy, stillness, placidity, tastelessness, quietude, silence, and doing-nothing are the root of all things,” he explains.

Opera Gallery presents Feng Xiao-Min’s artworks at Art Central (Hong-Kong)

Stepping into the 5th session of Art Central, Opera Gallery will continue to present contemporary art from all over the world. The exhibition will include works by French-Chinese contemporary artist Feng Xiao-Min.

Feng Xiaomin’s works combine the aesthetics of Eastern art with the techniques of the Western one. His paintings show a dreamy scene with a vibrant atmosphere. His work is not inspired by specific objects or specific locations, but focuses on creating a strong overall visual effect with different color combinations and compositional layouts.

Art Central exhibition information:

Exhibition date: March 27th – March 31st
Venue: Booth E07, Central, Hong Kong
Opening hours: 11 am to 7 pm

More information:

Why artist Feng Xiao-Min’s paintings don’t have titles

Chinese-born French artist Feng Xiao-Min no longer gives his paintings titles, believing that naming his work prevents viewers from making up their own minds.

“I used to name paintings as soon as I finished. But several years ago, I realised people would explain my paintings to me based on the titles: their own imaginations were blocked,” he says.

“Inspired Resonance”, Feng’s first solo exhibition in Hong Kong, is an opportunity to sit and ponder 27 of his artworks, 20 of which have not previously been seen in public. The largely abstract natural landscapes created with vivid lashes of colour chart the artist’s career since the early 2000s and his transition from paper to canvas.

“Before, I could throw the work away easily, but now I keep it and, through finding solutions, I can get good surprises”
Feng Xiao-Min

As if to validate Feng’s wish, 8.8.18, a dreamlike piece rendered in sunlit shades of ochre, sand and amber, was interpreted by onlookers at the exhibition’s launch as showing a beach at low tide; others saw a shimmering desert or sailing boats. Some form of water, a favourite theme of Feng’s, features in almost every artwork.

To add an extra sensory dimension to the experience, viewers are invited to wear headphones playing music by British-South Korean pianist Yiruma and a poem about nature by a woman who felt inspired after attending Feng’s exhibition last year in Shanghai. The audio element is designed to replicate the state of mind in which Feng likes to work.

a man wearing a suit and tie© Provided by South China Morning Post Publishers Limited

Born in Shanghai, Feng has lived and worked in Paris since studying at the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts in the late-1980s, and is credited with shaping the French capital’s contemporary art scene through the blending of French and Chinese styles and influences.

Although the artist gained a reputation in his younger years for being a mercurial perfectionist, prone to finding fault with and, subsequently, even sabotaging pieces that had already been sold, the 60-year-old says these days he is more willing to set a painting to one side and revisit it later.

“When I paint, I imagine it will go one way, but often I encounter difficulties. Before, I could throw the work away easily, but now I keep it and, through finding solutions, I can get good surprises.”

“Inspired Resonance” will be shown at Opera Gallery, W Place, 52 Wyndham Street, Central until February 28.

Lauren James

This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (SCMP)

Copyright (c) 2019. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.


Feng Xiao-Min: Inspired Resonance – Opera Gallery Presents Feng Xiao-Min’s Hong Kong Solo Exhibition

Opera Gallery, located on Wyndham Street, will host Feng Xiao-Min’s first Hong Kong solo exhibition from 18 January – 28 February 2019.  A new collection entitled ‘Inspired Resonance’ by the French-Chinese contemporary artist showcases colourful and meditative abstract landscape-inspired works.

The exhibition features a total of 27 of Feng’s large scale ethereal paintings dating from 2013 – 2018, set aside specially for the Opera Gallery exhibition with 20 of these pieces never seen before.

After studying fine art in China and spending 30 years in France, Feng’s work celebrates the fusion of Eastern aesthetics and Western techniques depicting his visions of landscapes from dusk to dawn.

No specific subject or location inspires Feng; instead he focuses on the powerful visual effect produced by the blending of colour and the spatial configuration of the whole image.

Taking inspiration from his training in traditional Chinese calligraphy, Feng uses acrylic on canvas and skilfully mimics the Chinese aesthetic of ink on paper, often being known to paint on the floor to control acrylic and water flow.

As part of the Opera Gallery showcase, Feng will exhibit an artwork honouring his peer Zao Wou-Ki. Feng and Zao, along with artist Chu Teh-Chu, have been instrumental to the French-Chinese art movement in Paris and assure a continuity of monumental colourful abstract works by Eastern artists on the French art scene.

Creatively blending the spiritual landscapes of the East, and the romantic colours of the West in their paintings, these artists have expanded the language of painting to show the Western world the creativity and excellence of Chinese artists and their origins.

Following his fine art studies in China, Feng enrolled in the prestigious École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris (National School of Fine Arts of Paris) and later taught at the same esteemed institute from 1997 to 2000. It was after this that Feng focused entirely on his own creations.

Feng was commissioned to produce an artwork for the 2017 BRICS Summit – the international relations conference – of which China is a member. Today, his artworks are frequently exhibited at international art fairs and biennales as well as displayed in various private and public collections, including galleries, museums and foundations around the globe.

Inspired Resonance’ by Feng Xiao-Min

  • Exhibition dates: 18 January – 28 February, 2019
  • Opera Gallery, W Place, 52 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong
  • Monday – Saturday: 10:00am-7:00pm | Sunday and Pubic Holidays: 12:00am-6:00pm

More details about the exhibition:

“Asia Abstract” exhibition at Opera Gallery Hong-Kong

Opera Gallery is presenting a new group exhibition “Asia Abstract” featuring the artworks of several artists, including paintings from the French-Chinese artists Zao Wou-Ki, Chu The-Chun, and Feng Xiao-Min, .

Date: September 28 – October 31 2018

Location: Opera Gallery, W Place, 52 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, 中環雲咸街52號W Placw

Courtesy Opera Gallery


For more information, you can find more details about it by reading the article through the link below, here is an extract:

Featured Chinese-French artists, Zao Wou-Ki (b. 1920), Chu Teh-Chun (b. 1920)and Feng Xiao-Min (b. 1959) are known for their modernist approach in integrating traditional Chinese brush-and-ink technique with Western abstract art. Over the course of their artistic career in France, the artists have acquired techniques passed on by European masters and have adopted manners of abstract expressionism and lyrical abstraction. The rhythmic nuances demonstrated in their bold sweeping strokes of colours are reminiscent of Chinese landscape paintings. While the message of the artwork may be elusive, viewers are left to bask in the immense beauty and strong emotional impact derived from the artwork’s depth, poetry and musicality. Combining Western abstraction with Eastern sensibilities, the artists collectively aim to expand the limits of painting, express nature in its fullness and give an authentic Chinese vision of the world.

You can also find all the details about this exhibition in the link below:

Dukascopy TV – Special interview of Feng Xiao-Min

Watch the latest interview of Dukascopy TV with Feng Xiao-Min here.

You can also find the entire article here: