Fang Lijun

One of the leading proponents of the early 1990s Cynical Realist movement, Fang Lijun's work encapsulates the disillusionment of China's youth; a generation defined by the events at Tiananmen Square and China's internal domestic policies. Constructed around loose narratives Fang's images personalise sentiments of disenchantment, angst, and rebellion; his fictional suggestions conveyed through his illustrative style and re-occurring bald-headed protagonist.

Fang's practice exhibits a rarefied technical skill rigorously studied through his Social Realist training; his combination of this aesthetic with references to contemporary comics, folk art, and dynastic painting characterise a national identity in flux, distilling a position of integrity from tradition and the modern world.

Fang's monumental sized prints revive the ancient Asian practice of woodblock printing -- a complicated and exacting process of carving a ‘negative' image into a panel, coating the surface in ink, and impressing the image onto paper; each different colour and tone requires a separate plate and order of printing. Due to their immense scale, Fang's images are composed on several adjoined scrolls; the elongated strips create both an emotive fragmenting of the image, and create a reference to memory and historical testimony. Thematically, each of these prints describe the plight of the individual against the ‘mass', creating a spiritual contemplation of solitude the quest for personal probity in the face of adversity.

Fang's painting 30th Mary evokes these same sentiments with a humorous effect. Reminiscent of European church ceiling paintings, Fang portrays an order of ascendancy of same-same kewpie figures, each based on his own image. Executed with painstaking hyper-realism, the clouds formulate as a tempestuous funnel rather than a portal of billowing promise. Contrasted with the kitsch palette and pop rendering of the grotesque cherubs, Fang's painting approaches the sanctity of ideological assurance with an empathetic cynicism.




Born in Handan, Hebei province, China

Lives and works in Beijing

Selected Solo Exhibitions


Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Germany

Life is Now, Galeri Nasional, Jakarta, Indonesia

"Fang Lijun: Today", Today Art Museum Beijing, China (solo)

FANG LIJUN: PLACES TO PLACES TO PLACES, Alexander Ochs Galleries Berlin / Beijing, Berlin

Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Germany


National Galerie / China Art Museum, Beijing, China

Art Cologne, Germany


Fang Lijun, Leben Ist Jetzt, Alexander Ochs Galleries Berlin, Beijing, Berlin, Germany


Fang Lijun, Between Beijing & Dali, Woodcuts & Paintings 1989 - 2002, Ludwig Forum für InternationaleKunst Aachen


Fang lijun, Asian Fine Art, Berlin

Prüss + Ochs Gallery Germany


Fang Lijun, Max Protetch Gallery, New York

From Beijing to Amsterdam and Back, Stedelijk Museum/ Galerie Serieuse Zaken, Amsterdam


Fang Lijun: Human Images in an Uncertain Age, The Japan Foundation Asia Center, Tokyo

Fang Lijun, Galerie Bellefroid, Paris

Fang Lijun, Galerie Serieuse Zaken, Amsterdam

Selected Group Exhibitions


Beijing - Havana, New Contemporary Chinese art Revolution, Cuba Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana,Cuba


Beijing-Athens: Contemporary Art from China, City of Athens Technopolis, Greece

Facing the Reality: Chinese Contemporary Art, National Art Museum of China - NAMOC, Beijing

Out of Shape: Stylistic Distoritions of the Human Form in Art, The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Poughkeepsie,NY

China macht Druck. Zeitgenossische Chinesische Druckgrafik, Stadtische Galerie, Bietigheim - Bissingen, Germany


Chinese Relativity: Part 2, Stefan Stux Gallery, New York City, NY

China - Facing Reality, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig - MUMOK, Vienna


A Point In Time-In Wuhan, Fine Arts Literature, Wuhan City Fine Arts Literature Art Center

Change, Taipei Museum, Taipei City, Taiwan

Mahjong, Kunsthalle Hamburg, Germany; Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain

Red, Diya Art, Tainan City, Taiwan


Kinderszenen - Child's Play, Rohbaukunst, Groß Leuthen Berlin - Brandenburg, Germany

Mahjong, Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland

New Work / New Aquisitions, MoMa New York, USA

Clues, WHITE SPACE BEIJING , Beijing, China

Sammlung Hoffmann Berlin, Präsentation 2006/2007, Germany

ART FORUM Berlin 2005, Berlin, Germany


C'est Moi, C'est Nous, Galerie de France, Paris

Millennium Portrait of China, Bremen City Gallery, Bremen


Portraits de Chine Contemporaine, Espace Culturel Francois Mitterand, Perigueux, France


Inside Out, Asia Society, New York, MoMA San Francisco, Seattle, Monterey


d'APERTutto, 48th Venice Biennale, Venice


Black & White, Chinese Contemporary, London

5000 + 10, Chinese Contemporary (London), Bilbao, Spain

Double Kitsch: Painters from China, Max Protetch Gallery, New York


CHINA!, Kunstmuseum, Bonn


4 Points de Rencontre, Chine, 1996, Galerie de France, Paris

Begegnungen mit China, Ludwig Forum, Aachen, Germany

Beijing/No No Soap Opera?, Munich, Germany

New Collection of Commissioned works on the theme ‘Hiroshima', Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art


Visions of Happiness - Ten Asian Contemporary Artists, The Japan Foundation, ASEAN Cultural Centre, Tokyo

Unser Jahrhundert, Ludwig Museum, Cologne

First Kwangju Biennial, Kwangju, Korea

Couplet 4, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

Avant Gardes Artistiques Xineses, Centre d'Art Santa Monica, Barcelona


Fourth Asian Art Show, Fukuoka Art Museum, Fukuoka/Setagaya Art Museum, Tokyo


Welt-Moral Kunsthalle, Basel

Chinese Contemporary Art at Sao Paulo, 22nd International Biennial of Sao Paulo

New Chinese Art, Hanart TZ Gallery, Taipei


China Avant Garde, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (also Kunsthalle, Rotterdam, Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, Kunsthallen Brandts Kloedefabrik, Odense, Denmark)


China's New Art, Post-1989, Hong Kong Art Centre, Hong Kong

Mao Goes Pop, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney

Passagio ad Oriente, 45th Venice Biennale, Venice

New Art From China Post-1989, Marlborough Fine Art London


New Art From China/Post Mao Product, The Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, City of Ballaart Fine Art Gallery, Ballaart, Canberra School of Art Gallery, Canberra


Fang Lijun and Liu Wei Oil Painting Exhibition, Beijing Art Museum, Beijing


Fang Lijun/Liu Wei, private exhibition, Beijing


China/Avant Garde, China National Gallery, Beijing


Sixth National Art Exhibition, Guangzhou