Magic Pictures Under the Lens -- Appreciation of Series of Totem by Fu Wenjun
It was last year that I had a close look at Mr. Fu Wenjun's works. As a participating artist in Guangzhou's three-year-exhibition project, he impressed many people by his works. Later I was even moved by his persistence and devotion to conceptual photography when I was appreciating his photograph collections, including his early well-known Leaving the Stage, Thought Thinking, Twelve Chinese Zodiac Signs, Story of theExpoPark, Illusory Metamorphoses and so on. Most of his works are to express the cultural ideas about history and religion through the combination of documentary photography and post production, which are represented by large visual expression on a high level. Each series of his works is not constrained by the symbolic form of language. His producing manners, using of technology and media selection do not always remain the same. Mr. Fu has done a lot of art experiments, especially in the combination of media and technology. As far as I’m concerned, the most experimental creation is the Totem.
A big change in creating style, which is much different from his former works, can be seen in the visual presentation of Totem. Mr. Fu put more factors of multimedia art creation in his works through post production of montage techniques, and thus a transformation from heaviness and introversion to ease and magic occurs. It’s obvious that he has made a great cross-border effort in this series of Totem. Viewers are to be attracted by the visual tension released from the picture in that visual connection of plane spaces gives static photography a visual illusion of 3D effect, thus changing the perception of the viewer. The main reason that art of multimedia has a strong appeal lies in its fresh, interactive and virtual features, which make it easier to be spread and accepted. In the premise of not breaking down photographic concept, Mr. Fu grafts the multimedia art language such as digital technology, application programming, information technology, computer technology, graphic design software, digital printing technology on his own works, and this makes the presentation and spread of his works quite different from that of media, thus changing the acceptance between the main body of the viewer and the object of plane photography. That he Joins Obama with primitive tribes, wild animals with the world scenic spots, gives visual space a magical illusion. This three-dimensional image under Mr. Fu’s lens is another representation of the world, which contains the artist’s view of the world and experience of the present society, culture, history and life. The space assigned to each subject, the relationship between the planes and the application of special techniques in his works are no more self-evident that the author has his own cognition and criticism to cultural centralism, post colonial culture, people and history, as well as the relationship between man and nature. As is said by the artist, cultural phenomenon and significance of Totem metaphor also has a concrete but strong embodiment in the present society, culture, history and life, for example, the obedience of what is said by the cultural center, established cognition of western centralism, blind admiration of the post colonial cultural theory and so on, which are all totem worships. All the conflicts between rights are fully revealed in the artist's pictures, and can be accepted by the audience in an easy and relaxed manner.
Mr. Fu is such a wise man that he mobilizes fully the morphological characteristics of multimedia art, through a very scientific art experiment technology, to express his own ideas with rational scientific spirit and self-reflection in mind. What’s more, the artist is trying to find a suitable way of cohesion among photography and new media, technology, knowledge, digital techniques for the possible exploration of photography to maintain the vitality of the art itself. After all, under the condition that all kinds of media are emerging and are mixed with each other, if we stick to a single media, it’s impossible for us to annotate the complex changes of the contemporary society and psychological concept of artists, let alone to meet the needs of audience who have various increasingly way of viewing. So, I hope everyone can rub your eyes and wait to appreciate Mr. Fu’s magic pictures, and wonder what kind of special visual experience the future creation will bring us.