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    Sale 2605

    Asian Contemporary Art (Day Sale)

    25 May 2008, Hong Kong

  • Lot 384


    Price Realised  


    (Born in 1963)
    Series 2, No. 9
    signed and dated 'Fang Lijun; 1992' in Chinese (on reverse)
    oil on canvas
    75 x 100 cm. (29 1/2 x 39 1/4 in.)
    Painted in 1991-1992

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    The political changes after the massacre in Tiananmen Square on June 4th, 1989 has bred many intellectual and emotional rejoinders from society, opening large field of critiques for Chinese contemporary artist to contemplate through their unique aesthetic vocabularies and construal. Like so, Fang Lijun's deconstruction on the epic tyranny of the nation performs as a painterly salvation towards this lamentable environment his individuals reside in; tackled in cynical realism, he portrays the madness brought upon by the futile standardized cultural environment in his de-personified characters.

    Out of sync with his usual portraitures of shaved head individuals in Series 2, No. 9(Lot 384), Fang paints full body of black hair that shine lustrously against the plain white shirts on his two protagonists. In conniving composition with his deliberate choice in concealing the face of these individuals, he only reveals the face of his iconic bald head man, smiling knowingly back at the audience for their unconscious search for his existence within his painting. Skin, raw in reddish pink, the individual strives to hide from the viewer in shame of his individualism, perhaps to indicate a sign of conformity that prisoners, soldiers and monks hold. Ambiguously extensive in its connotation of his bald figures; we are only allowed to decipher the artist's concept in direct reading of the characters with hair to stand as metaphors for a cynical twist of the trauma of the commune, moreover a humiliation for their incongruity of their inability to dissolve in to the visual humdrum of the usual bald men. Evoking a similar rugged crisp painting style, that of his woodblock print, Fang discloses his flexible artistic capability in his masterful carving of figures that desires to be salvaged in 1998.11.15 (Lot 385). The mountain of shaven head duplications with his very clever positioning of light reflection on the figurine's faces, summon again his deep criticism towards the cloned homogeneity of modern day china. Striving to be saved, these bald figures with their desperate expressions that undertones a sense of political repression are further trapped in standardized monotone of black and white palette. This sense of oppression is also seen in sculptural interpretation by literally compressing a figure into a flat form in Nature Group (Lot 461). The expression appears to be in an infantile contentment, only to conjure an overall sense of helplessness with the figure's state of oblivion towards his deformity.


    Hebei Education Press, Chinese Artists of Today: Fang Lijun, Hebei, China, 2006, p. 101. (illustrated)