I enjoy Fu Bin’s prints, especially his recent series Parallel Lines and Once Upon. Fu’s works soothe my restless mind by ushering me into a peaceful world, strange yet familiar. I call it strange because these spaces which are supposed to be the hustle and bustle suddenly turn to be in the middle of nowhere, empty and silent; I call it familiar because I could recognize these scenes by my personal experience, like the campus of CAFA (Central Academy of Fine Arts), the gate of the National Museum of China, entrances of malls and galleries in the 798 Art Zone. More specifically, these beautiful colors are pure and innocent, filtering out the filthy mottle in the real world. Fu’s works, indeed, have such glamorous power.
In fact, his works are not prints in the conventional sense. Prints in the past require an artist to sketch, followed by color separation, plate-making and printing. Multiplicity is the most critical characteristic of printmaking, which used to endow prints with the function of spreading images. Each of Fu’s works is unique. He intends to deprive printmaking of its inherent functions and features, freeing the print from its narrow conventional definition. Breaking the boundary of traditional classification of painting brings his works back to a purer state, which is the painting itself, a painting that employed most printmaking language and techniques.
Fu creates his prints by carving. With a gouge he engraved on the surface of woodblocks, which endows the lines in the picture with a carving dynamics that a paintbrush could hardly achieve. Yet the colors are hand painted instead of color registration. Neither could such complexity of multiple layers be achieved by traditional printing process. Fu’s exploration and development of printmaking language endow his works with a clear boundary crossing outlook.
Fu Bin is an artist always applied to thinking. For many young people, strict academic training often restrains them from creativity. However, Fu’s graduation in printmaking from CAFA not only provides him with a solid artistic foundation, but also a high starting point for him to explore new art language. I strongly agree with what Xu Bing once said: “a good artist or designer is a thinker as well as a doer who is good at transforming thoughts into art language.” Fu’s exploration of art language is successful. He uses the rigidity of woodcut lines to show the rhythm and sense of architectural structure and takes out any human figures in the painting to create a sense of isolation and strangeness so as to demonstrate the solitude and a hint of sorrow of those who live in the cities. When you are in front of such a painting, it belongs to you, as if you could hear your own breath and footsteps along the road at the same time. Yet, the colors always remind you that the space and the world are not real, as if seen through pieces of filters. In fact, such weird feelings appear spontaneously in our everyday life, most of which are simply neglected.
Fu makes a simple and honest impression on people and his heart-warming smile conveys his sincerity. As a matter of fact, Fu carefully selects a filter for each of his work, a filter of his inner world that helps audience find beauty in the familiar sceneries and world to which they used to pay no attention.