Fang Lijun - Contemporary Art Part II New York Friday, November 17, 2006 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Benefit Auction, Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin

  • Catalogue Essay

    Fang Lijun, the pioneer of China's Cynical Realism movement, studied printmaking at Beijing's renowned Central Academy of Fine Arts where he trained under China's top-ranked professors including Xu Bing (Lots 321-322). The present lots illustrate the artist's stylistic experimentation in his woodblock prints on rice paper and span the emotional spectrum of weary suffering, explosive rebellion, and cynical introspection that his ubiquitous bald rogues have exhibited over the past decade. Fan undertook a "dynamic return to printmaking in 1996 that set a new benchmark for scale of vision... Whatever the complexities driving the emotion, the wood-carved water scenes remain amongst the most powerful and memorable of his images." (K. Smith, "Nine Lives," 2005, p. 162) "Untitled No. 13 (Lot 317) is an early archetype of Fang's rogue in the water in this watershed year; many intepret this motif to symbolize the faceless Chinese citizen's struggle amid the miasma of Chinese life since Deng Xiaoping's "open-door" policy. The figure in this lot wears a rare smile upon his face that borders upon resignation, perhaps mute agony; the multiple, engulfing strokes of varying thicknesses are a distinguishing mark of Fang's woodcuts of this period. 1999.6.1 (Lot 316) is a signature example of Fang's large-scale, multiple-figure works just a few years later, where crowds of ecstatic bald rogues emit a howl that is disturbingly ambiguous--possibly one of ecstatic liberation, furious rebellion, or both. The artist's increasing use of bold, graphic strokes and black-and-white tones to convey depth is apparent in this work. 2005.5.10 and 2005.5.5 (Lots 318 and 319) are representative examples of Fang's rogue in his older years, whose expression still retains its trademark equivocation between sufferance and smiling defiance.



Six woodblock prints and ink on paper scrolls with wooden dowels, fabric on each dowel end.
193 1/4 x 47 3/4 in. (490.9 x 121.3 cm).
Signed in Chinese characters lower right of each scroll. Sixth print is also titled, numbered of eight and dated "1999.6.1" lower left and lower center. This work is from an edition of eight.

$60,000 - 80,000 

Contemporary Art Part II

17 Nov 2006, 10am & 2pm
New York