Primarily known as an oil painter, this bronze sculpture represents a new direction in Zeng’s practice. Untitled evokes the gnarled texture and convoluted form of a blasted tree trunk that continues to send forth new shoots. The twisted and bent “trunk,” scarred with knotholes and cracks, suggests a harsh environment and punishing forces, but the upward reaching “branches” convey a sense of endurance and resilience reminiscent of traditional paintings of ancient plum trees—an abiding symbol of survival, renewal, and moral purity.
Thomas Yaping Ou , Hong Kong (until 2011; donated to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China," December 9, 2013–April 6, 2014.