Selected works by Fang Lijun

Fang Lijun
2003.3.1

2003

woodblock prints and ink on 7 paper and fabric scrolls with wooden dowels

400 x 852 cm
Fang Lijun
Untitled (Swimmers)

2004

inkwash on paper mounted on canvas

132 x 213 cm
One of the leading proponents of the early 1990s Cynical Realist movement, Fang Lijun’s work encapsulates the disillusionment of China’s youth; a generation defined by the events at Tiananmen Square and China’s internal domestic policies. Constructed around loose narratives Fang’s images personalise sentiments of disenchantment, angst, and rebellion; his fictional suggestions conveyed through his illustrative style and re-occurring bald-headed protagonist.
Fang’s practice exhibits a rarefied technical skill rigorously studied through his Social Realist training; his combination of this aesthetic with references to contemporary comics, folk art, and dynastic painting characterise a national identity in flux, distilling a position of integrity from tradition and the modern world.
Fang’s monumental sized prints revive the ancient Asian practice of woodblock printing -- a complicated and exacting process of carving a ‘negative’ image into a panel, coating the surface in ink, and impressing the image onto paper; each different colour and tone requires a separate plate and order of printing. Due to their immense scale, Fang’s images are composed on several adjoined scrolls; the elongated strips create both an emotive fragmenting of the image, and create a reference to memory and historical testimony. Thematically, each of these prints describe the plight of the individual against the ‘mass’, creating a spiritual contemplation of solitude the quest for personal probity in the face of adversity.
Fang’s painting 30th Mary evokes these same sentiments with a humorous effect. Reminiscent of European church ceiling paintings, Fang portrays an order of ascendancy of same-same kewpie figures, each based on his own image. Executed with painstaking hyper-realism, the clouds formulate as a tempestuous funnel rather than a portal of billowing promise. Contrasted with the kitsch palette and pop rendering of the grotesque cherubs, Fang’s painting approaches the sanctity of ideological assurance with an empathetic cynicism.
Fang Lijun
1998.11.15

1999

woodblock prints and ink on 5 paper and fabric scrolls with wooden dowels

490.9 x 606.2 cm
Fang Lijun
1996.No.17

1996

woodblock prints and ink on 3 paper and fabric scrolls with wooden dowels

244 x 366 cm
Fang Lijun
30th Mary

2006

Oil on canvas

400 x 525 cm
One of the leading proponents of the early 1990s Cynical Realist movement, Fang Lijun’s work encapsulates the disillusionment of China’s youth; a generation defined by the events at Tiananmen Square and China’s internal domestic policies. Constructed around loose narratives Fang’s images personalise sentiments of disenchantment, angst, and rebellion; his fictional suggestions conveyed through his illustrative style and re-occurring bald-headed protagonist.

Fang’s practice exhibits a rarefied technical skill rigorously studied through his Social Realist training; his combination of this aesthetic with references to contemporary comics, folk art, and dynastic painting characterise a national identity in flux, distilling a position of integrity from tradition and the modern world.

Fang’s monumental sized prints revive the ancient Asian practice of woodblock printing -- a complicated and exacting process of carving a ‘negative’ image into a panel, coating the surface in ink, and impressing the image onto paper; each different colour and tone requires a separate plate and order of printing. Due to their immense scale, Fang’s images are composed on several adjoined scrolls; the elongated strips create both an emotive fragmenting of the image, and create a reference to memory and historical testimony. Thematically, each of these prints describe the plight of the individual against the ‘mass’, creating a spiritual contemplation of solitude the quest for personal probity in the face of adversity.

Fang’s painting 30th Mary evokes these same sentiments with a humorous effect. Reminiscent of European church ceiling paintings, Fang portrays an order of ascendancy of same-same kewpie figures, each based on his own image. Executed with painstaking hyper-realism, the clouds formulate as a tempestuous funnel rather than a portal of billowing promise. Contrasted with the kitsch palette and pop rendering of the grotesque cherubs, Fang’s painting approaches the sanctity of ideological assurance with an empathetic cynicism.

Other Resources

artfacts.net
Additional information on Fang Lijun

the-artists.org
Modern and contemporary artists and art – Fang Lijun

chinesecontemporary.com
Fang Lijun is the leading protagonist of Cynical Realism, the major movement of the post-1989 era in contemporary Chinese art. Cynical Realism, an urban based movement, developed in the aftermath of the events of 1989 which included not only the demonstrations at Tiananmen Square but the closure earlier that year of the “China Avant Garde” exhibition at the China National Gallery in Beijing by the authorities.

chinesecontemporary.com
Images – Fang Lijun

beijingscene.com - Cynical Realist Fang Lijun by ben Davidson
A fool is someone still trusting after being taken in a hundred times. We'd rather be lost, bored, crisis-ridden misguided punks than be cheated. Don't even consider trying the old methods on us, we'll riddle your dogma with holes, then discard it in a rubbish heap.
I read those strong words in a newspaper article long before I ever saw a Fang Lijun painting. The words are Fang's, as quoted in a 1992 article by China's leading art critic Li Xianting.

heimat.de
Information, images and artwork from Fang Lijun

china.arts.ubc.ca -
Fang Lijun
Born in 1963 in Handai of the Hebei province, Fang Lijun endured a rather difficult childhood. Stigmatized as a ‘rich peasant’ during the Cultural Revolution, Fang routinely endured taunts and witnessed the humiliation of his family members. To protect him from persecution by his peers and neighbors, Fang’s father kept his son at home and taught him painting, whereby instilling an early interest in the arts that was soon to evolve into a promising career.

artrealization.com
Fang Lijun, born in 1963 in Handan, Hebei province is one of the leading and most influential artists in china. Known to be one of the main forerunners of the early 1990’s movement known as Cynical Realism, an artistic trend that evolved as a result of the aftermath of the 1989 student demonstrations in Tiananmen and the closing of the “China Avant Garde” exhibition at the China national Gallery in Beijing.

artandculture.com
Fang Lijun's paintings never are. They effuse an attitude of indifference and uncertainty, as well as a quirky love of the absurd. For Fang, to be clear -- to make an honest, authentic statement in these times in China -- would be naïve. The only admirable attitude is a playful, fun-loving cynicism -- Fang mocks himself as much as he does his subjects, discovers humor in his powerlessness and boredom, and mercilessly ridicules every emaciated state of affairs.

mbergerart.com
Chinese artist Fang Lijun, born in 1963, is the recognized leader of the “Cynical Realism” art movement. This generation of artists grew up during the Cultural Revolution, witnessed its subsequent demise (1977), and faced disillusionment when the mass movement to introduce democracy in China ended violently at Tiananmen Square (1989).