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Fang Lijun (B. 1963)
(1) signed in Chinese; numbered '7/25' (lower right); dated '2002.12.11' (lower left)
(2) signed in Chinese; numbered '7/25' (lower right); dated '2002.11.9' (lower left)
(3) signed in Chinese; numbered '8/25' (lower right); dated '2002.12.9' (lower left)
four woodblock prints
each: 121 x 80 cm. (47 5/8 x 31 1/2 in.) (4)
Executed in 2002
Edition: 7/25; 7/25; 8/25; 8/25 (4)
Galerie de France, Paris, France
Private Collection, New York, USA
Lo Yinhua (ed.), Taipei Fine Arts Museum & She Jie Yi Shu Chu Ban She, Live Like a Wild Dog: 1993-2008 Archival Documentation of Fang Lijun, Taipei, Taiwan, 2009 (illustrated, p. 248).
Culture and Art Publishing House, Fang Lijun, Beijng, China, 2010 (illustrated, p. 349).

Lot Essay

Fang Lijun is among those who gained the most international attention in the new art wave sweeping through China in early 1990s. He successfully captured the unique psychological state of the young generation in China with the symbolic, rebellious bald head, providing an outlet for their grievances stemming from stress in life, thereby responding to the drastic social changes with his personal attitude.
As a graduate of the School of Mural Painting in China Central Academy of Fine Arts, Fang demonstrated his outstanding techniques in the large piece 1998.11.15 (Lot 501). He used simple yet eye-catching bald heads with the clear and strong white lines to build tremendous momentum. The artist purposefully divide the piece into a number of independent hanging scrolls in the search of possibilities in the presentation of mural paintings. Fang's mural paintings and oil paintings share one characteristic - absence of detailed brushstrokes and artistic decorations - with which he thinks would hinder the balance of the work, thus the expression of the artist's emotion. As he once mentioned, "What matters most is what you see in a work, or the feeling it leaves you, but not just what you see." Both pieces echo the style Fang adopted in his mural works, showing his special preference for simple and pure colours. When bright colours give way to dark, cold ones, the contrast brought about by the cold blue and grey tone, and the self-restricted use of visual elements both make the subject stand out.
1998.11.15 features a concrete pyramid structure with a group of figures all with bald heads. While the central figure proportionally larger than others wears a cunning smile and gives a lecture to others, just like those authoritative leaders do, those surrounding him agree and subdue. While the artist did not specify any target, the outward sight of the figures suggests not only a solid master-servant relationship, but also the absolute loyalty to the central power. The work is an ironic tale of people's ignorance, foolishness and helplessness in an era a political figure toys with the cult of personality.

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