At 4:00 pm on April 8, 2016, “Alternative Survival——Research Exhibition of Fang Lijun’s Manuscripts” kicked off in United Art Museum. The exhibition was planned by executive curator of United Art Museum and critic Mr. Lu Hong. With more than 200 manuscript works created by Fang Lijun from 1977 to 2016 on display, the exhibition systematically combed Fang Lijun’s creative practice and thinking in various periods. This was also the second research exhibition of famous contemporary artist’s manuscripts following the “Track of Thought in the Creation of Artworks——Exhibition of Fu Zhongwang’s Manuscripts” held by United Art Museum.
Part 1 mainly displays the artist’s manuscripts from 1977 to 1983, including several manuscript works created by the artist during the period from he joined fine art team in middle school, attended Handan Worker’s Cultural Palace, till he studied in Hebei Light Industry School. This part demonstrates the artist’s art education background and start of print creation in early times. Part 2 displays the artist’s manuscripts from 1984 to 1988, including manuscript works created by the artist during the period when he joined an advertisement company and resigned, and then pursued education in Central Academy of Fine Art. This part shows the artist’s updated art education background and his rough drafts left during sketch series creation in the late 80s. Part 3 displays the artist’s manuscripts from 1989 to 1991, i.e. from his 4th grade in Central Academy of Fine Art till he joined “Yimuyuan” studio and “The Old Summer Palace” painter’s village after graduation. This part shows several sketches created when the artist entered a creation state that made him world-renowned, and the paintings were created in forms of pencil line-drawing and ink and wash painting. Part 4 displays the artist’s manuscripts from 1995 to 2009. This part exhibits rough drafts created by the artist when he entered a new creative phase, and most of them were created in forms of pencil line-drawing and ink and wash painting. Part 5 mainly displays the artist’s new manuscripts in recent six years from 2010 to 2015, and many of the works are open to the public for the first time.
Talking about the original intention of this exhibition, curator Lu Hong said: “To hold manuscripts research exhibition for outstanding Chinese contemporary artists is one of the initiatives set by United Art Museum upon its establishment. In our eyes, creation manuscripts of important artists are not only important data for art historians and critics to carry out academic research, but also an important way for art lovers and collectors to know an artist’s constant growth and development. Fang Lijun is a very excellent A-list artist in Chinese contemporary art circles, and meanwhile, his large collection of manuscripts and related documents is helpful to this academic exhibition.”
Huang Liping, curator of United Art Museum, gave a high appraisal of Fang Lijun’s portrait manuscripts from 2010 to 2015. He wrote in the preface of the exhibition: “Fang’s manuscripts of head portraits are mostly improvisations in daily life. And he is quite familiar with those painted figures from the art circles. The figures’ expressions he captured have all undergone symbolic generalization. The head portraits of Li Xianting, Wang Guangyi, Fu Zhongwang, etc. painted by Fang, which I see from Wechat, are all very lifelike. Fang has painted two head portraits for me, one in front and one in profile. He keen portray of my instant look allows me to see another spiritual outlook, which is easy to be neglected. Behind his joking and cynical intelligence, his works reveal a noble seriousness.”
The 3-month exhibition last till July 8. To support the exhibition, United Art Museum also invited Fang Lijun to deliver a lecture.