Critical Notes on Fu Wenjun's Digital Pictorial Photography
“Again Enter theScene --- Fu Wenjun Digital Pictorial Photography Exhibition” is presented byChongqing Art Museum at its No.1 Hall from 16th January to 27thJanuary 2019. A seminar on the Digital Pictorial Photography of Fu Wenjun washeld on the opening day of 16th January, presided by Wang Lin,exhibition academic host, art critic, Professor of Sichuan Fine Arts Institute,doctoral supervisor of Xi'an Academy of Fine Arts. Participants include YangKuang, President of Chongqing Photographers Organization; Party member andstanding Vice-president of Chongqing Federation of Literary and Art Circles;Peng Min, Secretary-general of Chongqing Photographers Organization; DengJianqiang, Secretary and Deputy Director of Chongqing Art Museum; art criticsHe Guiyan, Yin Dan, Deng Xu, Feng Daqing.
Fu Wenjun, Chinese contemporary artist:
Photography istwo-dimensional. But if we fall into this definition, our expression withphotography would be limited. In my works I integrate many personalunderstandings of Chinese traditional art… Some people say my works “do notlook like photography”, but the “unlike photography” on the contrary is a newway of presentation. We could change anything and make changes beyond thecommon sense.
Wang Lin, art critic, curator, Professor and graduatetutor of Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, visiting professor and doctoralsupervisor of Xi'an Academy of Fine Arts:
Fu Wenjun is anartist who always want to change the photography. He has created numerous worksthat develop Digital Pictorial Photography from a concept to a relatively clearway of presentation.
The Digital PictorialPhotography of Fu Wenjun is featured with the blending of photography andpainting. It’s not documentary photography, but a comprehensive one, that hasabsorbed various cultural elements. Fu Wenjun collects the elements andreorganizes them in his own way and finally present to the audience. Therefore,his photographic works are in fact a comprehensive expression of photographicart concepts.
Generally, FuWenjun’s works have a character of polyphony, that is related to his travellingaround the world to collect image resources. His sensibility on snapshot comesfrom complex feelings about Chinese and foreign culture. Frankly speaking,image combination could easily descend to simplicity and superficiality. But FuWenjun is ambitious to pursue knowledge reconstruction in the photography art,which could be recognized from what he does in the series Ask Tea: the workspresent diverse reactions to cultural fragments, just like our feelings towardsthe questions of reality, but with the image recombination of rationalgeometric abstract and the application of dynamic color organization ---intensification created by complimentary yellow and blue in Van Gogh’s way ---to express feelings, he has surpassed the dispute of Eastern and Westernculture. At the moment, art is not understanding, not feeling, but personalcreation consciousness provided with cultural autonomy and languageself-government.
Yang Kuang, President of Chongqing PhotographersOrganization; Party member and standing Vice-president of Chongqing Federationof Literary and Art Circles:
Fu Wenjun is one ofthe photographic artists who have the most spirit of exploration in Chongqing.His works are not traditionally photography, with the use of digitaltechnology, he gives photography limitless possibilities and let each piece toinspire people’s thinking. It is not complete to regard simply photography as acombination of art and technology, which is just a physical significance. Themodernized society provides photography many new possibilities to make it havemore value and meaning. So it’s worthy to explore the photographic art.
Deng Jianqiang, Secretary and Deputy Director ofChongqing Art Museum:
Fu Wenjun's works arevery avant-garde, and coincide with the diversity concept of the museum. TheChongqing Art Museum, as a public art museum, needs to adapt to the aestheticneeds of the public and show the public different art forms and explorationmethods. This is the functional requirement of the museum as a public educationinstitution.
Peng Min, Secretary-general of Chongqing PhotographersOrganization:
The exhibition wasorganized in response to the concept of Chongqing Photographers Association,"stress creation, present talents, introduce high quality works".Photography is an art with the fusion of technology, and innovation is thequest for every photographic artist. Fu Wenjun is doing very well in Chongqing.He has incorporated his own ideas into his creations. The content and form arecompletely integrated, and traditional photography and traditional culture are blendedinto the art. With the concept comes first, on the form he has abandoned theprevious methods, and adopted a new way.
He Guiyan, art critic, curator, Deputy Director andProfessor of Department of the Art History, Sichuan Fine Arts Institute:
The image informationconveyed in the current mobile phones is rich and diverse, and the meaning ofthe image medium in life is deeper and more life-oriented. The reading ofimages is not simple. The way we see today is influenced by visual images. FuWenjun's work is not simply photography, but an art behind the digitaltechnology. His works deconstruct the original daily seeing, a change of form.The framing method is just the appearance, which is consistent with the seeinglogic behind the images at the exhibition. The way of mounting manifest theartist's efforts behind, while the seeing is also a part of art.
Yin Dan, Ph.D. of Tsinghua University, associateprofessor, art critic, curator:
The works of FuWenjun reflect an obvious contradiction or duality: painterliness andtheatricalization. In terms of painterliness, the so-called "DigitalPictorial Photography" combines digital technology with pictorialcharacteristics, and here the photographic material is further planarized. Thecomplex multiple exposures actually dissolve the painterly sense of space. Healso pays attention to trace his works to the traditional culture, but it is nota "scissors plus paste" symbolic collage, but a way of"translating" the ink brush method (such as the flowing feeling ofimages) and the taste of traditional aesthetics (such as the blending ofimages, the interest of great form is beyond shape). In his previous serious onDazu Grotto, the formless, abstract style more easily conveys the sense ofdesolateness and sublimity of history.
As far as thetheatricalization is concerned, Fu Wenjun uses a two-layer image to break theplanarity in a three-dimensional space, forming a figure-ground relationship.Theatricalization is an important way for contemporary art to break through theflatness of painting since the 1960s, emphasizing the relationship betweenpeople and works in real three-dimensional space. For example, when weappreciate these works, we will find that the shadows produced by the doubleimages will become part of the work. In the process of moving the head, theviewers will see different shadow effects, so will feel the works completelydifferent.
Deng Xu, art critic, Director of Art Museum, SichuanUniversity of Arts and Science:
Fu Wenjun's worksstrip out the "slices of space" from the "segments oftime", and finally overlay to form an "epitome of time andspace", which combines the subject matter content, the formal language,and even the framing to form a complete meaning of the work. His time-spaceawareness makes the spatiotemporal transformation of static pictures intoreality. This kind of "time-space memory" is fragmented, twisted, andcollaged, which just like our dreams, not real, but from reality. It forms areal and illusory "time and space memory", which with continuouscross-over, breaks through the solidified system.
The change in themounting form has in fact a common purpose - thinking on time, to build aholistic concept and to realize an addition to the time-space view of theplanarized photo. The breakthrough of time and space shows the memory of timeand space in the human subconscious, and presents a sense of pass-through likein a dream.
Feng Daqing, art critic,curator:
As a city with a leading edge in contemporary art, Chongqing has seldomavant-garde attempts in photography. Fu Wenjun’s attempt is very innovative andputs his focus on contemporary visual culture. In the present, vision becomes aculture. The relationship between the whole and the part in Fu Wenjun's worksis very worthwhile. Fu Wenjun's combination of traditional and modern methodsalso reflects our understanding of technology. When creating, we look for newbreakthroughs and try new technologies. And once new technologies emerge, theywill change the concept of creation, which is a process of mutual influence. FuWenjun used his own way to innovate in the creation, and there is still a lotof room for expansion. In general, he gives us an inspiration in visualculture.
Kong Weiqiang, The ResearchCenter for Contemporary Visual Art, Sichuan Fine Arts Institute:
Fu Wenjun's Digital Pictorial Photography has changed the internalrelationship of the image through post-processing, removing the light andshadow of the internal space, that is, removing the independence of theinternal space, which allow the image space and the real space to be connectedin series and become an image chain. His works suppress color, especially thebright colors. Chinese traditional literati have the oppression of colors,using the gray components to interfere with it. This is the way in which humanconsciousness plays in the image, the technical means and logical means ofinteraction between the human heart and the image. In Fu Wenjun’s works, theimage volume is converted into a series of square shapes, and the gradient grayon the surface is turned into a series of clues without gradient but withboundary. Its purpose is to make the original unity within the image become twowithout united relation, parallel elements, one is color and the other ismodelling. They were originally unified but become two independents with commontrend.