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Fang Wei_Essay_EN (iWeekly)

Published by info, 2022-06-05 07:34:00

Description: Fang Wei_Essay_EN (iWeekly)


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Limitless Vitality: The Body is Trapped, but the Spirit is Liberated 2022-06-02 12:20 Posted in Shanghai Excerpt from iWeekly’s interview with artist Fangwei about the creative inspiration behind his artworks. Translation by 39+ Art Space. Fangwei: Wandering in Inner Utopia The limitations of our material world have endowed the notion of “space” with greater meaning. This is especially salient with the eroding boundaries between the spaces in which we live, work, create and rest. \"Working space\" and \"living space\" are becoming increasingly synonymous, interlaced and interdependent. Fangwei, Backlight (2021), Oil on canvas, 240 x 340 cm. Though he lives in Shanghai, Fangwei’s home and studio is situated on Chongming Island, far from the heart of city. In 2015, Fang Wei and his wife Uma moved to a small village there, where they rebuilt their studio in an abandoned fishing station and an old factory building from the 1960s that was near

the river bank. Preserving the overgrown weeds and vegetations, as well as the original wooden structures of the dilapidated factory building, Fangwei interacts with and works in nature in a manner similar to \"collaboration\". Spring and Summer; when does it start, when will it end? What are we waiting for? Everything has changed and yet nothing seems to have changed at all. The world is frozen and full of uncertainty, as if waiting for the action of God. For Fang Wei, who chose to stay away from urban life, the tangible effects of the pandemic were relatively manageable. \"More pertinent would be the changes in our emotions and mental health, almost like a kind of psychological 'retirement'”. The news of the outbreak “disturbed\" and \"blocked\" his creative process and ideation. While this could not have been avoided, Fangwei still attempts to redirect the energy aroused by these stifling emotions into passion for creation, and to maintain a state of constant creation. Fangwei, new work (unnamed). Photo retrieved from iWeekly. Fangwei asks his wife the same questions everyday – \"How are you doing today?\", \"What else do we need at home”. However, through the dull repetitions of these mundane routines, some forms of discourse have started to surface in conversations online. Aside from simply saying \"Today's eggs taste good\", contradictory notions start to materialise; the tension between freedom and entrapment, and the distance between imagination and reality. The happenings of today seem inexplicably disconnected from the past, and Fangwei’s studio has become a place far away from the hustle and bustle as if shrouded in enchantment. Entering his paintings feel like stepping into a mystical forest, where characters are looming and elusive, alluding to the fluidity and impermanence of human nature.

Fangwei’s art studio. Photo retrieved from iWeekly. Fang does not draw from a pre-existing repository of subjects and themes. Instead, he allows his imagination to run wild and manifest itself in his colorful palette, using vivid colors to express the depth and emotionality of the characters and scenes he portrays. He focuses on the essence of human nature; embracing the excitement, fear, loneliness, ecstasy and alienation that is an integral part of the human condition. Through his command of the absurd, he creates fantastical landscapes by employing surrealist techniques and a skillful application of vibrant swaths of paint. The emotions brought about by the pandemic have inevitably affected his creations. In Fangwei's works, we can feel the loss of agency and control; the blurry muddle of ambiguity. These anxieties are distinct products of our times. With the accelerating processes of urbanisation, people who have lived through the turn of the century are stuck experiencing both the increase in material abundance and the increase in societal pressures. The city resembles a hungry beast that devours vitality. When the artist starts to create, the brush stroke integrates with the atmosphere, and the subconscious is externalized on the canvas. Fangwei has kept a distance from the city from the start. Though not outrightly influenced by these effects of urbanisation, they still seep into his being like drops of water to a sponge, subtly growing in his heart.

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