Zeng Fanzhi (Chinese: 曾梵志; born 1964 in Wuhan, Hubei) is a contemporary Chinese artist based in Beijing.
From the earliest stages of his career, Zeng Fanzhi’s paintings have been marked by their emotional directness, the artist’s intuitive psychological sense, and his carefully calibrated expressionistic technique. Moving to Beijing in the early 1990s, Zeng’s art displayed an immediate shift, responding to his immersion in a more superficial environment, his seminal Mask series displaying the tensions between the artist’s dominant existential concerns and an ironic treatment of the pomposity and posturing inherent to his new contemporary urban life. Throughout, Zeng’s expressionistic techniques run counter to such techniques’ conventional usage. That is, Zeng’s representation of raw, exposed flesh or awkwardly oversized hands is not an attempt at pure emotional expression, but instead play against the superficially composed appearances of his subjects, an ironic treatment of emotional performance as a metaphor for a lost self, of stunted self-realization.
In May 2008, Christie’s Hong Kong pioneered the Asian Contemporary Art Evening sale. Zeng Fanzhi’s Mask Series No.6 was sold for HK$75,367,500. Christie’s Hong Kong set a world auction record for the artist in 2008.
In October 2013, Sotheby’s Hong Kong at the Asian Contemporary 40th Anniversary Sale, Zeng Fanzhi’s The Last Supper was sold for US$23.3 million, setting a new record for contemporary Asian artwork.