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Controversial and Billionaire painter


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Seems Wuguanzhong's been a controversial painter since Cultural Revolution, about his view, his art and the value of his work. Perhaps he is the only living billionaire painter of his age.

To be honest, I don’t like his artwork much. He used to be a professor in my university, but was not mentioned often. Some people would rather talk about the argument between him and another old famous professor. The teacher who taught us fresco history once asked us: “Do you know the argument between Zhang and Wu?” “NO!” “Ok, I will tell you, but close the door first”.

Actually, the cause of this fight is the traditional Chinese ink painting, Wu wrote an article called “Brush and Chinese ink is ZERO笔墨等于零”(its just a part of the painting, as for itself, the road of its possibility has ended); On the contrary, Zhang thought brush and Chinese ink is fundamental in Chinese painting(he’s good at it), no matter whatever it’s traditional or modern. Thus, he fought back by “defend the bottom line of Chinese painting守住中国画的底线” with his all strength. By the way, if you love Chinese animation, you must have heard “uproar in the heaven (monkey king)”,there’s another well-known Chinese animation called “ne zha nao hai哪吒闹海”,Zhang is the designer of it.

My major is not Chinese painting, never painted by Chinese ink only before, so “no comment”.

However, I agree with another of Wu's views. He’s emphasized the sense of form, beauty of a piece of work ITSELF, not for describing something, not for any values…

P.S. interesting website

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I know nothing about any controversy but as a complete layman I like Wu Guangzhong's paintings a lot.

A couple of years ago the HK Museum of Art held an exhibition of his works and it was superb.

These three are among the ones I like most (actually they were lined up horizontally one next to another on a wall and the visual impact was great) -

雙燕 (1981)


憶江南 (1996)


秋瑾故居 (1998)


You can view some of his paintings here (including a copy of 筆墨等於零).

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Aren't many of Wu Guangzhong's pictures done in traditional brush and ink in any case? Why would he say such a silly thing?

Well, I suppose every artist must know that the road to success comes through creating controversy these days, and not through real skill. Getting yourself in the papers is what really counts.

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