Jan 8, 2009

Fang Lijun
Among the new generation of internationally famed Chinese Contemporarires, Fang Lijun's name comes at the top. Often been quoted as the leader of the new school of Cynical Realism (Wanshi xianshizhuyi), Fang had come to gain international recognition way back in the early 90s when his bald head men with distorted faces expressing a feeling of disillusionment associated with the years directly after the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.

Born in 1963 in Handai of the Hebei province, Fang Lijun endured a rather difficult childhood. Stigmatized as a ‘rich peasant’ during the Cultural Revolution. Fang routinely endured taunts and witnessed the humiliation of his family members and all this developed in him a strong cynicism about Chinese society.

No wonder that his views in the post-liberalization phase of China became most recognised and today he is a craze among the western art collectors.

Fang has participated in group exhibitions such as Mao goes Pop (1993), in Sydney, Australia, Inside-Out: New Chinese Art (1998), in New York, USA and 2003’s Alors la Chine in Paris, France. Moreover, Fang has held solo exhibitions in several countries, including Germany, Singapore, Amsterdam, USA, Japan and France. He has also participated twice at the Venice Biennale and at both the Sao Paulo and Kwangju Biennales.
Though primarily a painter, he has ventured into installation art and has made sculptures too. His sculptures like his paintings are ll about bald heads with distorted faces.
At 43 years old, he’s believed to be the richest avant-garde artist in China (though Zhang Xiaogang must be closing in). He owns six restaurants, a small hotel, drives a black Audi, has studios in Beijing and western Yunnan Province and was recently selected, along with Wang Guangyi and Zhang Xiaogang, to create a huge painting for the Shenzhen subway system.

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