Zou Cao

The artist’s fingerprint, applied like a screen pattern over a grisaille portrait of a well-known personality, characterises the oeuvre of painter and philosopher Zou Cao, born in China in 1975. Motivated by his analysis of the postmodern art currents of the 1960s, in particular of the American Pop Art, the models chosen by Zou Cao for his large-format, oil-on-canvas portrait works are prominent photographs of politicians, artists and actresses that stand out like black-and-white newspaper print from a monochrome, red or magenta background. Zou Cao’s painted fingerprint on the other hand is overlaid on the photograph’s likeness, veiling the subject’s intense gaze and simultaneously melding with the portrait into the shape of a bust. Zou Cao, who studied art until 2001, earning his doctorate in philosophy in 2004, has been teaching at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing since 2007. The fingerprint, a form of individual identification traditionally used in China, is in a tension relationship with the apparent “multiplicity” of famous personalities, generated by the omnipresence of their portraits in our media. For Montblanc, the artist created the Art Bag “Everlasting Classic”, which bears a portrait of Ingrid Bergman and an image of Grace Kelly. This work is related to Zou Cao’s series “Peerless Beauties”, which includes among others, pictures of Marilyn Monroe and Angelina Jolie.