Fang Lijun. The Precipice over the Clouds
GAM presents a momentous exhibition, bringing forth the artist’s rich and inventive figuration, with a selection of around 30 monumental works which belong to his recent production, from 2006 to today, showcasing some works never shown before or carried out especially for this exhibition.
Displayed in the museum’s two exhibition venues, the Exhibition areaon the first floor and the GAM Underground project on the underground floor, this exhibition welcomes the visitor with a powerful visual impact, and succeeds in recreating the imaginary worlds of an artist who has devoted his life searching for the union of Mankind with nature. The immense whirling skies studded with insects and birds, mice, butterflies, often peopled with human faces, both joyful and desperate, are the first subjects the public will be confronted with. The paintings are magnificent, displayed according to impressions without following a chronological order, even if the peculiarity with Fang’s works is that they do not have a title despite not being Untitled, instead his production is marked by the date (sometimes only the year, or the year month and day). Hence, for instance, in 2005-2007 clouds open up forming a whirlwind vortex, swallowing up sleeping children who lean on faint seagulls created by the very clouds. In the large 17-metre longpainting bearing the same 2005-2007 title the vortex is made of birds and billions of insects which tend to reach an undefined point on the horizon. Once more a child is the protagonist of 2007.4.6, a work chosen to be the guiding image of the show. A newborn plunged into dark water is desperately crying and is surrounded by colourful dragonflies, small but annoying creatures which may represent future trouble in the existence. If on the first floor the skies and Mankind are predominant, the central room of the exhibition area introduces the theme which will then be analysed in the Underground Project, i.e. the intertwining between life and death. Death is indeed the main subject of some of Fang Lijun’s works, metaphorically represented as mice and bats (Untitled 2011) or maggots (2006.7.1) or confirmed by the presence of lifeless bodies, corpses of famous people, protagonists of the Chinese Cultural Revolution or of Tian’anmen Square repression. In 2010, a large painting displayed on the first floor almost 9 metres wide, one recognises among the dead Lenin’s face and the victims of 1871 Paris Bloody Week. However, these works maintain a glimmer of life, represented by the sun rising, by shiny jewels or children and people celebrating. The exhibition also features some new works finished in the weeks preceding the opening, such as 2011-2012, a city of sky-scrapers enveloped in a dark fog, with one glimmer of dim light allowing to see the usual myriads of colourful butterflies together with dark mice and bats.
This exhibition is curated by Danilo Eccher, Director of GAM, and it is carried out in a successful cooperation with major Chinese institutions, such as the NAMOC (National Art Museum in Beijing) and the Misheng Art Museum in Shanghai.
GAM - TORINO
30 September 2012