6 More
9 More

2001.1.6, 2001.1.12, 2000.5.5, 2000.6.15, 2000.6.25, 2000.6.30, 2002.11.11, 2002.12.9 and 2002.12.11.

2001.1.6, 2001.1.12, 2000.5.5, 2000.6.15, 2000.6.25, 2000.6.30, 2002.11.11, 2002.12.9 and 2002.12.11.
each signed in Chinese, numbered and dated respectively (bottom)
woodcut print (9 pieces)
244 x 122 cm. (96 1/8 x 48 in.) (2); 122 x 81 cm. (48 x 31 7/8 in.) (7)
Executed in 2000-2002
various editions
Private collection, USA
Y. Lo (ed.), Live like a Wild Dog: 1963-2008 Archival Documentation of Fang Lijun, exh. cat., Taipei Fine Arts Museum, 2009 (different edition illustrated, p. 248-249).
P. Lu Peng & C. Liu (ed.), Fang Lijun: Chronology, Culture and Art Publishing House, Beijing, 2010 (different edition illustrated, p. 331).
Fang Lijun, exh. cat., Beijing Today Art Museum, 2010 (different edition illustrated, p. 62-77)
Beijing, Today Art Museum, Fang Lijun, August - September 2010 (different edition exhibited).

Brought to you by

Ada Tsui (徐文君)
Ada Tsui (徐文君) Vice President, Specialist, Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

‘Fang’s carve paintings are more China than the first impression.’ –Stephanie Tash

2001.1.6, 2001.1.12, 2000.5.5, 2000.6.15, 2000.6.25, 2000.6.30, 2002.11.11, 2002.12.9 and 2002.12.11 is a suite of 9 woodblock prints made by one of the most recognisable figures in Chinese contemporary art Fang Lijun between 2000 and 2002. Ranging from over two metres to one metre tall, these monochrome prints depict countless bald heads looking up and perplexing in a jammed arrangement—an iconic motif in Fang’s oeuvre that communicating a collective expression: anxiety and unease. In China, baldness is often identified with a feature of either monk or prisoners, such extremes of virtue and vice underscore the ambivalence Fang tries to convey, which has further accelerated by the muted palette and the all-over, frontal composition of the work. The present work is an exemplar of Fang’s woodblock prints that encompasses both sympathy and sarcasm toward individual freedom and collectivism.

Despite Fang debuted his art career with the medium of oil paintings, and famously gained international recognition through an iconic yawning bald figure painting Series II. No.2 featured on the cover of the New York Times Magazine in 1993, woodblock print is nevertheless deemed an instrumental portion of his creative trajectory. Majored in printmaking at art school, Fang admires the expressiveness of wood carving and embraces the inalterable of the medium. It is perhaps the paradoxical nature of woodblock print that fascinated Fang: its output as print is lightweight and meticulous while its process—carving wood—is mostly laborious and expressive. Fang lays meters-long wooden panels on the floor and carves them with an electric industrial saw as he steps across it, the woodblocks are then ingrained with fluid lines that reflect the artist’s movements. Toward the end of the 1990s, Fang returned to woodblock print decisively and began to work with monochrome and later with warmer and brighter colours such as orange, yellow and red, like the present work. One of the earliest large-scale monochrome prints titled 1998.11.15, for example, shares an identical component with the present work by depicting a similar group of bareheaded characters at the lower part of the composition looking up. This five-panel woodblock print was handpicked by the curator Harald Szeemann to be presented at the 48th Venice Biennale in 1999 and is considered an archetype of his ongoing woodblock print series. Fang’s woodblock prints, usually consist of multiple vertical panels to form a single gigantic image, reminiscing both traditional Chinese scrolls and propaganda posters during the Cultural Revolution. As Tash once expressed, ‘Fang’s carve paintings are more China than the first impression’ (S. Tash, ‘Reminiscence of Red Scarf’, in in Q. Zhang (ed.), Chinese Artists of Today: Fang Lijun Documentation Library of Today Art Museum, China, 2006, p.132).

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