Feisty avant-garde artist, Fang Lijun, insists his works merely mirror the situation on the ground and dismisses criticisms he is peddling an image of ‘ugly Chinese’ Zhu Linyong reports
Fang Lijun is well aware of his reputation as one of the nation’s most envied as well as hated avant-garde artists. The 47 year old drives deluxe sedans, breeds bulldogs, runs two restaurant chains and hotels, and has spacious studios in Beijing and in southwestern Yunnan province.
His works sell for millions of dollars at international auctions, and some are in the collections of prestigious museums such as the Pompidou Center in Paris and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
But he is often accused of churning out repetitive works “to cater to Western collectors” and of presenting an ugly picture of the Chinese in his unorthodox paintings, installations, prints and sculptures.
“People have a number of negative views about me,” Fang says. “That is understandable as most know me only through the news and scholarly essays which are often, if not always, misleading and confusing.”