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  • Provenance

    Pekin Fine Arts, Beijing

  • Catalogue Essay

    Fang Lijun is one of the most iconic Chinese contemporary artists to emerge during the 1990s. He has risen as one of the prominent masters of Cynical Realism, which possesses a similar humour to Andy Warhol's political pop art.Today, some might argue the political presence in his paintings, rather than functioning as an explicit expression towards politics, might be the collision of Fang's personal experience with the changing era that China was undergoing.
    The present lot, Untitled (Swimmers), is an ink wash painting mounted on canvas. Ink wash painting is completely different from cosmetic intermediary materials such as oil, watercolour, graphite or woodblock; it is of its own breed from the ancient Chinese culture, thought and executed solely based on the sage's mentality. In the present lot, water is depicted fiercely, soon to devour the people standing behind it. The artist combined ink presented in a free, natural, yet meticulously realistic manner, with his usual subject -water, a substance that he considered as a paradox: to swim or to drown?
    The water is habitually boundless with no beginning and no visible shore, whether on a painted scale small or vast. It never seems more navigable or less engulfing. This suspension in a great expanse of sea again revisits the futile power of one individual alone consigned to an overwhelming watery realm."(Karen Smith, Nine Lives: The Birth ofAvant-Garde Art in New China, Zurich, 2006, p.162)

46

Untitled (Swimmers)

2004
Inkwash on three sheets of paper mounted to canvas.
132 x 213 cm. (52 x 84 in).
Signed ‘Fang Lijun [in Chinese]' lower right; dated ‘2005.5.5' three times along the lower edge.

Estimate
£50,000 - 70,000 ≠ †

Sold for £49,250

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

12 Feb 2009, 7pm
London