International. Contemporary. Art.
Fu Wenjun (Born & Lives: Chongqing, China)
Working as an artist since attending Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in China, Fu Wenjun’s artworks tackle strictly cultural issues such as the Eastern and Western history, the heritage of traditional Chinese culture in a rapidly changing society, the relation between different cultures in the age of globalization, industrialization and urbanization in Chinese cities. Although his practice incorporates installation, sculpture and oil painting, it is the use of conceptual photography that predominantly defines his work.
Having exhibited internationally, Wenjun’s artworks have gained numerous awards and have been collected by galleries and museums across the world, such as Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Today Art Museum, Old Summer Palace Museum, Guangdong Museum of Art, Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts of France, Egypt Ahmed Shawki Museum. Prior to showcasing at the Barcelona International Art Fair 2016, Wenjun shares his art path story with GAA.
How would you describe yourself and your artwork?
Fu Wenjun: Influenced by my father, I have been in love with art since I was young. In the 80’s I studied oil painting at the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, which opened my path as an artist. With four years’ professional art study and training, I mastered art theories and related creation technique. From then on, I embarked on the art journey for my lifelong time. In the following decades, besides oil painting, I have studied, explored and created using various art expression forms. In the time I have lived, there were moments of history that will never happen again in other places and times. I have been watching the high-speed changes in China in the last 30 years. My country develops very fast, while I persist in slowing down in order to feel the collision and changes of the culture to think of the issues directing Chinese and Western history, humanity and culture, and to express, present and inspire with my works of art. Now I use mostly photography, installation, sculpture together with oil painting to convey my thinking on art and on other issues.
What is your definition of art?
FW: Art is a reflection of the reality in human’s spiritual world, which records the real life as well as people’s imagination. With the art, an artist can forever explore his possibility of creation. There is no limit, so everything is possible.
What drives you?
FW: When the conceptual art in the Western world influenced the Chinese traditional art, multiple media were put into practice to present the conceptual art. So I tried to use different media to do experimental creation, including photography. I turned from documentary photography to conceptual photography, which I found, can provide more freedom for expression. I fell in love with conceptual photography, and have been working with it for about 30 years. When photography couldn’t fully express my concept, I came to the use of installations. After several attempts, I fell in love with installation art and created several works, among which one titled Post-Industrial Era was exhibited at the 1st Asia Biennial / 5th Guangdong Triennial.
How do you deal with artist’s block?
FW: It’s very painful for me when I am in low spirits, and I don’t have creative ideas. At this time, I think the only solution is to bear the sufferings and never give up. You can find the beautiful rainbow on the sky only after the rain.
Can you tell us what you are doing right now?
FW: ‘Digital Painting Abstract Photography’ is a concept I propose after much research, thought, and artistic creation. With the wide use of mobile phones, taking photos becomes increasingly popular. It is the time for the photography art to have richer connotation and plural vitality. ‘Digital Painting Abstract Photography’ represents a photography art language, processing the images with digital post-adjustment and multiple exposures, formed with the combination of paintings’ visual expression. Taking photography as a medium for artistic expression, it integrates the essential thoughts of contemporary art, like conceptual art, pop art, Dadaism and abstract expressionism, and other do. While being free from the requirement of recording the objective reality, ‘Digital Painting Abstract Photography’ gets the pictorial elements involved to express, just like Chinese freehand brushwork, to one’s hearts, and carrying through without stopping. Without the limitation of ‘just photography’, it brings a new visual viewing experience based on ones subjective thinking and artistic creation.
Who are your favorite artists?
FW: I think Andy Warhol is one of the most influential artists in the history of contemporary art. He broadened people’s understanding of contemporary art. His artistic thinking continues to inspire other artists. Zao Wou-Ki is another artist I respect. His works represent a perfect combination of Chinese traditional painting and modern oil painting from the aspect of creation concept and applied technology. People from Western and Eastern culture and education can appreciate his works, just from different aesthetic viewpoints.
Artworks shown and many more of Fu Wenjun’s unique pieces will be shown at the Barcelona International Art Fair 2016.