Fang Lijun

b. 1963

Fang Lijun is a Chinese artist born in Handan, Hebei province, 1963. His earlier work is characterized by his leadership in the movement of Cynical Realism, a style rooted in the Cultural Revolution and subsequent disillusionment with the Chinese government in the 1970s and 80s. A loose narrative of personal disenchantment and aggression are conveyed through his fantastical style, one which references the traditions of Social Realists and dynastic painting as well as contemporary comical and folk art. By conflating elements from these inspirational sources Lijun has constructed his own interpretation of national identity, one mocked and symbolized by his definitive youthful bald figures. He was one of the first artists to translate the new social climate onto canvas, offering a new understanding of role of avant-garde art under a single party regime. Lijun began to move beyond the horrors of his adolescence to comment upon the contradictions and instabilities of life. Stoic, expressionless subject matter was abandoned in favor of sarcastic, ironic, and intensely rendered sculpture and painting. The plight of the individual against mass conformity suggests ascendency through personal introspections expressed through dramatized figures and expressions.