Fang Lijun, born in 1963 in Handan, Hebei Province
Fang Lijun, born in 1963 in in Handan, Hebei province, is 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. These events which symbolize the climax of the artistic aspirations that built up during the 1980’s collapsed at once and created a void that Fang Lijun and others filled with a new message full of irony and indifference to the big forces that the individual is subject to.
Fang Lijun was one of the first artists to translate this new social temperament onto the canvas, as the idealism of the 1980’s gave room to a more somber and realistic understanding of the role of avant-garde art under a one party regime. Fang Lijun redefined the new artistic tendencies of contemporary Chinese art in the 1990’s.
The first public showing of his work — drawings made in 1988 whilst studying at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing (1986-1989) — took place in Beijing in February 1989, as part of the China/Avant Garde exhibition.
In the coming years, this vision would become a powerful voice in “Chinese contemporary art”, both within China and abroad