Portrait of artist Tu Hongtao
Story Sep 26, 2019

Lévy Gorvy to Represent Tu Hongtao Worldwide

Lévy Gorvy is pleased to announce the gallery’s worldwide representation of Chinese artist Tu Hongtao (born 1976).

Based in Chengdu, Tu explores the organically evolving relationship between image and technique through his gestural expression of landscape and abstraction. He graduated in 1999 from the China Academy of Fine Art in Hangzhou with a specialization in oil painting, and his first compositions were densely rendered Neo-Pop canvases that responded to the rapid social and environmental transformations of the era. Shifting his direction over the past decade, he has developed a unique cross-cultural approach to art-making that synthesizes Western oil painting traditions with those of classical Chinese painting theory and calligraphic gesture. Inspired both by contemporary innovators Cy Twombly, Brice Marden, and David Hockney and by classic Chinese masters Zhao Mengfu and Dong Qichang, Tu conveys his encounters with nature as interpreted through his own sensibilities of lyrical abstraction. The dynamic mountain scenes that surround Chengdu became a major inspiration in the creation of his own canvases that transcend time and space.

According to the artist: “My paintings incorporate a strong sense of craftsmanship and emphasis on brushstrokes: it is a medium capable of expressing emotion, humanity, and warmth. In the early days, I was very sensitive to the ethos of China. Later, inspired by Cézanne, I turned to challenge my understanding of space. I have been immersing myself in traditional poetry for a long time, trying to obtain some kind of philosophical insight. Working with Lévy Gorvy, we exchange ideas and together explore the relationships between Eastern and Western poetry, painting, and philosophy. Our discussions on aesthetics break the boundaries of cultural fields, increasing our synchronization and expansion of mind. I believe the cooperation between myself and the gallery will push our mutual exploration to a more profound level.” Blurring reality and imagination and reordering the schemas of space and time in his work, Tu offers a sophisticated and poetic investigation into the potentials of painted form.

Warmly welcoming Tu Hongtao to the gallery, Brett Gorvy comments, “From the first moment I saw Tu’s work I responded on a very visceral and emotional level to the lushness of his brushwork and the epic ambition of his paintings. His deep connection to nature and his ability to transfer his experience of the natural world into a universal abstract language immediately brings to mind the work of Cy Twombly and Joan Mitchell. Through our worldwide representation, we look forward to introducing the mastery and vision of Tu Hongtao to a new audience of collectors and institutions around the world.”

Senior Director of Asia Danqing Li notes: “We are excited to represent Tu Hongtao and to present his works. Having studied at the Academy of Fine Art, Tu carries the legacy of twentieth-century Chinese modernist painting and abstraction, pioneered by Lin Fengmian and Wu Dayu, and later the post-war master of abstraction Zao Wou-Ki—conveying even more of the concurrent incorporation of Eastern and Western aesthetics. Tu’s initial paintings developed a sensitive view of humanity’s status under the vast changes of post-modern China. After returning to his hometown in Southwest China in the early 2000s, he transcended the radical figurative expression of his earlier endeavors and turned to the contemplation of post-war art history and his practice of abstract painting in which the landscape, close observations of nature, and natural sensibilities became major inspirations. Tu’s work represents the chaos and complexities that we all feel within the contemporary world, providing the global audience with an interesting perspective. His pure painted canvases integrate the transformations of spatial and temporal experience brought by contemporary technology and travel together with the freeness of his abstract gestures and application of traditional East Asian theories.”

The exhibition Tu Hongtao: A Timely Journey opened on September 7 at the Long Museum in Chongqing, following its presentation in 2018–19 at the Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai. Lévy Gorvy will host a survey exhibition of Tu’s paintings in November 2019 at the gallery’s space in Central Hong Kong. In Autumn 2020, Lévy Gorvy will present a solo exhibition of new paintings by Tu in London.

 

Click below to watch a film created by the artist:

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