Eskenazi shows Fang Lijun's porcelain sculptures for his first UK exhibition


Fang Lijun, 2019 Small Draft, 2019. Porcelain, 14x12x11cm..jpgFang Lijun, 2019 Small Draft, 2019. Porcelain, 14x12x11cm.

Eskenazi Limited presents the first exhibition dedicated to Fang Lijun (b. 1963) to be held in the UK. As one of the leading artists of the 1990s Cynical Realism movement in China, Fang Lijun has gained international recognition for his large-scale paintings of figures with shaven heads and exaggerated facial features. However, Fang’s versatility as an artist is seen in his ability to switch between different media including oils, woodblock prints and ceramics depending on his expressive needs. The current exhibition highlights nine porcelain sculptures – diaphanous, stacked modular constructions - which explore Fang’s interest in the state of flux between perfection and destruction. These are accompanied by preparatory ink sketches which provide an insight into his working methods and by two striking ink portraits. The catalogue includes an essay by Shelagh Vainker, Curator of Chinese Art at the Ashmolean Museum and Associate Professor at the Faculty of Oriental Studies, Oxford.

Fang Lijun, 2014, 2014. Porcelain, 34.2x50x48cm..jpg

Fang Lijun, 2014, 2014. Porcelain, 34.2x50x48cm.Fang Lijun, 2019 Small Draft, 2019. Porcelain, 14.0 x 12.5 x 12.5cm..jpgFang Lijun, 2019 Small Draft, 2019. Porcelain, 14.0 x 12.5 x 12.5cm.Fang Lijun, Sketch of Porcelain, 2020. Ink on paper, 41x60cm..jpgFang Lijun, Sketch of Porcelain, 2020. Ink on paper, 41x60cm.

Fang Lijun, Sketch of Porcelain, 2020. Ink on paper, 43.5x37.5cm..jpgFang Lijun, Sketch of Porcelain, 2020. Ink on paper, 43.5x37.5cm.

Fang returned to porcelain for the first time in recent years having graduated from the ceramic department of Hebei School of Light Industry in the 1980s. To create his ceramic sculptures, he works in Jingdezhen in south-east China, the historical centre for porcelain in China, where he uses the medium as an “extreme exploration of process”. His abstract creations highlight themes of fragility and materiality, and contrast with the millennium-long quest for perfection seen in Chinese ceramics. The sculptures consist of delicate, diaphanous porcelain bricks stacked in modular shapes and executed in a firing process which distorts and tears the surface, creating unique works of art.

Fang was born in Handan in the Hebei province, China, in 1963. Having graduated from the Hebei School of Light Industry in ceramics, he studied at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing in 1989 before rising to prominence as a leading figure in the Cynical Realist Movement that emerged from China in the 1990s. Bridging the traditional and contemporary in Chinese art, he was also trained in the ancient practice of woodblock printing and brings elements of the technique to his painting practice. He has been the subject of more than 70 solo exhibitions worldwide and his work has featured at international museums and institutions including the 45th and 53rd Venice Biennale (1993 and 2009) and the 22nd Sǎo Paulo Biennial (1994). Most recently he has been the subject of retrospectives at the Xi’an Art Museum, Xi’an, China (Wonderland — Fang Lijun Ink painting, 16 July to 16 October 2022) and at the Macao Museum of Art (MAM), China (Fang Lijun: The Light of Dust, 3 March to 11 June 2023). His ceramic works were the focus of a dedicated exhibition at the Musée Ariana, Geneva, in 2017, and will be shown in autumn 2023 at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. His works are collected by major institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre G. Pompidou, Paris; the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Arts, San Francisco.

About the Exhibition

Dates: 1 - 30 June 2023

Venue: Eskenazi Limited

Courtesy of Eskenazi Limited.