A Conversation in Between – Lulu Zeng

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18th Jun 2024 - 8th Jul 2024

A Conversation in Between – Lulu Zeng

In this exhibition of expressive paintings Lulu Zeng opens conversations between painting & poetry, culture & understanding, material & perception. Her paintings reflect her identity as a Chinese immigrant to Aotearoa and the cultural exchange in language. Studying classical Chinese and Western imagist poetries, Zeng attunes herself to her abstract emotional responses to the poems.

Three groups of paintings interplay in this exhibition, conveying differing responses to poems based in Eastern and Western poetic traditions. The Autumn Eve series is inspired by a Tang Dynasty poem, the L’Art Reflection series based on L’Art, an Ezra Pound poem, and Echoes to the River responds to a classical Chinese poem which was translated by Ezra Pound. In each painting her brush is energised by her responses to the verse.

For someone like me, living between two cultures, translating poetry is both a cultural exchange and a conversation between my past and my present selves.
– Lulu Zeng 2024

Like a Chinese calligrapher she infuses each gestural brushstroke with meaning. Shaped by her unique perspective, she recaptures feelings and evoked experiences of natural landscapes.

The act of painting here becomes a form of translation, where personal feelings and word meanings are interpreted onto the canvas.
– Lulu Zeng, 2024

Zeng seeks to express the emotional essence of the poetry. She echoes the rhythms of the verse in her performative marks and uses colour and texture to reflect the energy of each poem. Fluid, splashing paint and intensely scribed lines reflect the immediacy of her responses, her moment of inspiration rendered directly to the canvas.

Read more about this body of work in our City Art Reader interview with Lulu Zeng.

Echoes to the RiverLulu Zeng
Autumn Eve ILulu Zeng
Autumn Eve IILulu Zeng
L’Art Reflection ILulu Zeng
L’Art Reflection IILulu Zeng