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Li Shengzhao x Fang Wei: Under the Dome


Li Shengzhao: The title of the exhibition is “Under the Dome(穹頂之下)”, how do you think about it?

Fang Wei: In my imagination, the virtual world of “Under the Dome” is the inner space constructedin the human being, the dome is the highest part, which is being granted with some holy and saint significations gradually in our daily life, linking the distance and self-meditations in mankind. At the same time, the dome divides the outer and inner spaces, just like the contradictional conditions between oursociety and the daily life of ourselves in the mundane world, dividing us into the same two different parts: outer andinner. The space under the domesymbolizes the yearning and desire hidden in ourdaily life.

“Under the Dome” will be a long-timeproject, with all the pieces to juxtapose theWeltbild (世界圖景) about myself and thepeople around me. In this exhibition, I can imagine that it will have three parts: “Under the Dome(穹頂之下)”, “Home world of Vagabonds(徬徨者的家園)” and “The Lost Images(失落的圖像)”. “Under the Dome” is atheatre of collagerepresenting the active images of this “Inner” spiritual space;“Home world of Vagabonds” is a story telling the “Objects” and “Landscapes” in the space, “The Lost Images” is a reconstruction of the passions and impulsions in the deepshell of memory washed by the river of time.

Li Shengzhao: From the early series of“Performance of Nigthmares(夢魘的演出)”, “Them - Another Air” and “World Park - Tetuate(世界公園—特圖亞特)” to the latest artworks,we can discover that the human figures are faded out from the canvas, can youtalk about this?

Fang Wei: To be specific, I try toweaken the particular visages of men and its related, vivid symbolizations.First, the actions and emotions of mankind are always my focus;Second, as timegoes by, my perspective has enlarged from myself to ethnic groups,and I feel that “men with visages” limited the expression and imagination of the paintings too much, it seems that “Objects” or “Landscapes” can convey the common emotions while still underline the symbolism, and I love the emotions arousedby“Objects” and “Land scapes”.

Li Shengzhao: Branches, birds without heads and snakes appear again andagain in many of your paintings, what do they mean to you?

Fang Wei: Certainly, a same element can bring different meanings at different moments, I do not want to specify the meaning of an object. I tend toinstall them into some surroundings and environments, then finally arousing some emotions in the experiences of an entire atmosphere. For example, the trees has some persona function in some artworks, or I can say, it stands for “me”to appear in the canvas, just like an independent dancer. While it maysymbolize or imply the alien and wild worlds contrary to the modern worlds in others. When I made the birds without heads, I was much more interested in the rhymes and rhythm of its movements, the specific expressions were erased whenthe heads transformed into a white circle. As for me, the snakes are the stalking,concealing dangers and threats.

Li Shengzhao: In your artworks of the last two years, we can always feel some dramatics and a hidden narrative, please talk about the relationship between you and the canvas, what role do you play when you face your paintings?

Fang Wei: I am always regarding myself as a director when I think about my paintings, naturally,I will imagine the entire canvas as a scene of a drama when I pick up the brushes. In the beginning, the most effective ones isthe visions or emotions that touches me in the life. Then, I’d love to add element“Time” into the artwork, in the process of paintings, all remaining, related,new figures or similar emotions that I’ve observed will be surfaced,emerged,mixed and mingled into the same drama.

In this so “slow” rhythm, sometimes I will add some more new elements, sometimes I will remove some, or even modify them totally. After long time of painting and smearing,I will try my best to arrange and organize them naturally as much aspossible, though they may not seem to relate to each other. I suppose this kind of paintings are a visual result of a process of sensation, similar to our life juxtaposed and collaged by different pieces of time with different durations.And in the end it will show some fuzzy and indistinctive balance in the paintings.

Li Shengzhao: What dose art mean to you? Do you have some specific aimsfor creation? Do you have some certain methodologies?

Fang Wei: As for me, art is a kind of special way to experience andexpress the life, it’s deeply rooted into the sensation of our daily life, all the methodologies and aims are fermented and generated from it.