Fang Lijun
Fang Lijun: Portraits and Porcelain
2023.10.15 - 04.14
The solo exhibition Fang Lijun: Portraits and Porcelain by artist Fang Lijun (b. 1963) was inaugurated at the Ashmolean Museum of Art & Archaeology Oxford on 14th October 2023. 

The exhibition has opened to the public from October 15th for six months. The exhibition is curated by Prof. Shelagh Vainker, Curator of Chinese Art at the Ashmolean Museum and Associate Professor of Chinese Art in the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oxford. The Ashmolean Museum is recognized as the first public museum in the English-speaking world and one of the earliest and largest university museums with the richest collection in the world. The formation of Ashmolean Museum marks the beginning of modern museums. Its establishment marked a seminal moment in the emergence of modern museum history. This exhibition is the first solo exhibition of Fang Lijun at public museum in Britain.

The exhibition Fang Lijun: Portraits and Porcelain showcases hunderds of iconic works by Fang Lijun, from his student days in the late 1970s to the present. The exhibited works encompass drawings, oil paintings, works on paper, woodcut prints, porcelain, porcelain paintings and experimental art education video. The exhibited art works are loaned to the Museum on courtesy of Fang Lijun Studio, public and private collections. The opening events of the exhibition including the opening remarks, symposium, reception, and dinner are jointly hosted by the Ashmolean Museum and New College, University of Oxford.  The exhibition is supported by Clouds Intelligence and Triumph Gallery, and Luzhou Laojiao · Guojiao 1573 provides the brand support.

Dr Alexander Sturgis, Director of the Ashmolean Museum, and Professor Shelagh Vainker, Curator of the exhibition, delivered speeches at the opening ceremony. Dr Sturgis addressed, "We are very honoured to be able to present a solo exhibition of such an important artist at the Ashmolean Museum, and we thank you all for your dedication and appreciate the support from all parties involved in this exhibition." Following the symposium, Fang Lijun had a dialogue with David Elliott, the renowned curator of contemporary art curator wherein they collectively retraced the artist's artistic odyssey, career milestones, and substantial influences. "A deep understanding of Fang Lijun's artistic life and the social background behind his work is of great significance to understanding Chinese contemporary art and Chinese society." Emphasized by David Elliott.

The opening reception and dinner were held at New College, University of Oxford. At the dinner, Mr. Miles young, Warden of New College welcomed the guests worldwide and remarked: "I had the great pleasure of knowing Mr. Fang Lijun for some years. His work seems as much symbolic of the late twentieth and early twenty first century in China as Andy Warhol is of twentieth century America to me. He has always seen an artist who is truly Prometheus, pushing the boundaries of technique in so many innovative ways. He is also someone who is immensely generous in the development of young artists and art education. I also want to welcome HMA Caroline Wilson, his majesty's ambassador to China. The fact that you are here and have made a huge effort about the importance of this event and about the support of cultural exchange between UK and China.”

Over 100 guests from China, UK, France, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, and Japan, including the British Ambassador to China, and Dr Ian Kiaer, Director of Ruskin School of Fine Arts attended the opening events.
Fang Lijun
Fang Lijun was born in 1963 in Handan, Hebei, China. He graduated from the Printmaking Department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1989. On July 1st of the same year, Fang Lijun moved to Yuanmingyuan, the Old Summer Palace, and later the Yunamingyuan Artists' Village was gradually formed. In 1993, Fang Lijun established his studio in Songzhuang. The Songzhuang Artists' Village has steadily developed for the last two decades. In 2014, Fang Lijun established the Archive of Chinese Contemporary Art. 

Fang Lijun has held solo exhibitions in major art institutions and galleries, including Ludwig Museum Koblenz, Staatliche Kunsthalle, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, the Japan Foundation, Ariana Museum in Geneva, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Turin, The Macao Museum of Art, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Hong Kong Arts Centre, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai Art Museum, Hunan Museum, Beijing Minsheng Art Museum.  His participation includes the Venice Biennale, Sǎo Paulo Biennial, Kwangju Art Biennial, and Shanghai Biennial.  His works are collected by The Museum of Modern Art (USA), Seattle Art Museum (USA), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (USA), Centre de G. Pompidou (France), Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst (Germany), Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam(Holland), The National Gallery of Australia (Australia), Fukuoka Asian Art Museum (Japan), Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (Japan), Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art (Japan), National Art Museum of China (China), Shanghai Art Museum (China), Guangdong Art Museum (China), He Xiangning Art Museum (China), Hunan Museum (China), CAFA Art Museum (China).  He is one of the Chinese contemporary artists with the most extensive collection by major art institutions worldwide.

He has published more than 50 personal albums and related publications, including Fang Lijun: Chronicles, Fang Lijun: Criticism, Fang Lijun: Works of Art, FANG LIJUN, Fang Lijun: The Precipice Over the Clouds, Fang Lijun: Espaces Interdits Forbidden Areas, Fang Lijun: Woodcuts, Live Like A Wild Dog, Etc.  Fang Lijun has been invited as a visiting professor and graduate supervisor at more than 20 universities and colleges, including the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts, Jingdezhen Ceramic University, Xi 'an Academy of Fine Arts, etc.  In 1993, his painting "Series 2, No. 2" appeared on the cover of the New York Times Magazine.
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Shelagh Vainker
Prof. Shelagh Vainker, Curator of Chinese Art, Ashmolean Museum。Shelagh Vainker was previously Curator of Chinese Ceramics and Textiles at the British Museum. Other appointments include President of the Oriental Ceramic Society 2012–15, and J.S. Lee Memorial Senior Fellow 2012–13 (Beijing). She has published widely on Chinese art including books on ceramics and silk, articles on many aspects of the material culture of the Northern Song dynasty (960–1127) and a series of collection and exhibition catalogues on modern Chinese painting. 

Shelagh Vainker is responsible for three galleries in the Ashmolean: the permanent galleries China 3000BC – AD800 and China From AD800, and the Khoan and Michael Sullivan Gallery for Chinese Painting which shows two paintings exhibitions each year. She is literary executor of the estate of Professor Michael Sullivan.