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The Legend of the Zhou Brothers [周氏传奇］
Zhou Brothers: “We don’t think this way. Art is life and Art is our journey. We just create and move forward.”
Mo Chen: “You are known to host annual galas at home for celebrities, politicians, and tycoons, which gives us an impression of chasing money, power and fame that against the ideology of a “pure” artist. How do you face to this seemingly negative public image?”
This attitude is derived from the ancient Chinese culture of the literati class, favoring self confidence as the Chinese aesthetic heroism. Exactly as to what the painting expressed, the one that we have done for the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland in 2000 we praise the bright positive side of human nature with open arms, embracing the new world bravely like a child.”
Artsy: “You’ve been collaborating for almost 45 years. Have there been significant ups and downs or have you found it to be a relatively straightforward trajectory?”
Zhou Brothers: “Like everything else in life it has its ups and downs and there have been many. But our success would not taste as good if our journey had been too easy.”
Unlike their early paintings, when the struggles and fights were shown clearly on the canvas. The new works show a uniform, calm ornate style, with all movements hidden beneath the surface. As they say, they now seek more intangible sense of movement driven by an invisible flow. Entering the fourth decade of their collaboration, this may mark the successful maturation of their personal philosophy of “Feelingism”. From looking at the images, they have made choices in life and handed themselves a satisfactory answer sheet.
Artsy: “How would you describe your respective roles in this creative dynamic?”
Zhou Brothers: “We don’t have particular roles in our collaboration. It is more like tripartite conversations between ourselves and the canvas.”
Commercial success and pure artistry are usually considered mutually exclusive. To them, however, it’s not a conflict. They just live their life with the same artistic feeling of making their paintings. They call their philosophy “Feelingism,” [感觉主义] and elaborate it as “feeling is liberty.” [感觉是自由神] It can be interpreted as going with your guts, blindly believing in yourself, and following your heart. As painters, they make decisions spontaneously based on their intuition in the moment. In that sense, they are just simply applying this “feeling” to other areas of their life practices, including business. Labels such as Artist or Entrepreneur are irrelevant to them. Before the secret of how human’s intuition works is unraveled, they can only be defined as geniuses in life.
Artsy: “How does the new Zhou Brothers Studio in Beijing fit into your creative vision?”
“Mystery within mystery; The door to all marvels, ” [玄之又玄、衆妙之門]” a quote from the Tao Te Ching by ancient Chinese philosopher Laozi, may be the best summary of this close observation.