He works in Paris but is increasingly nostalgic with his Chinese origins. He is tempted by the synthesis of the mystical beliefs of East and West. An oil on canvas 200 x 162 cm titled Et la Terre était sans forme, dated 1956-1957, is the culmination of this creative impulse.
The title in French is therefore associated with the West and paraphrases the second verse of Genesis just before the appearance of light. In this phase the Earth is uninhabited but cannot be empty. Its creation is an explosion of colors.
The primordial world of Yin and Yang is another interpretation of the creation of forms. Since 1954 Zao was sprinkling his works with an illegible calligraphy inspired from the Oracle Bones, these earliest witnesses of Chinese paleo-scripture which were undoubtedly an attempt at communication with the heavens and anticipated the symbols on the Shang ritual bronzes. The well-centered fireball of Et la Terre était sans forme is patterned with the Oracle bones signature signs of the artist but they are too small and too tight to invite for an understanding in the modern world.
This painting was sold for HK $ 29.4M including premium by Christie's on November 25, 2007, a very high price for a work by Zao at that time. It is estimated HK $ 90M for sale by Poly in Hong Kong on March 29, lot 164.
The mystical crescendo of Zao Wou-Ki is halted by his break in early 1957 with his wife Lan Lan. The hypersensitive artist is in shock. He leaves for a long stay with his brother near New York City where he discovers the spontaneity of abstract expressionism. A new phase of total abstraction will begin.
Please watch the video shared by Poly HK.
SOLD for HK$ 155M before fees