One hundred and thirty nine

Botas (Boots)

2009 by Zeng Fanzhi
Fundación Francisco Godia

Chinese born Fanzhi is known for his expressionistic style of painting. Though his style ranges his paintings are always expressive, carried by the intense quality of their colour. His Hospital Series (shown at the Saatchi Gallery in the ‘90s) were surreal and slightly disturbing, yet this recent piece is approached it seems in repose; the subject is calmly simple,  summoning nostalgia rather than the bizarre. The nostalgia is that of Van Gogh’s, giving a warmth to this everyday object; there is a rounded security in the way they are drawn and in the perspective, which sees them from slightly beneath, focusing on polished rounded toes. The painting hovers in that odd place between photographically realist and expressionist interpretation: the high-lighted sheen of detail clings to the texture of leather and delicacy of the laces, while the painterly articulation buzzes with the movement of brush strokes, blurring the edges. The painting appears as a photograph softened through the eyes of the owner; possession is clear here, through the pleasure of staring at a pair of worn-in boots. For shoes perhaps personal ownership is more important, we tend to wear them more consistently, moulding them to our feet, watching them as we walk staring at our toes. Botas is touching yet subtle, the effect given through this incredibly detailed and at the same time emotive approach to painting.

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