Introduction to Feng Feng
and His Series Three Kingdoms
Feng Feng, an internationally recognized artist, is also a poet and a romantic who uses his brush to articulate personal struggles and comment on the state of affairs in modern society. His paintings skillfully blend Chinese historical reference with modern abstract painting and create a strong link between the past, present and future. He uses traditional Chinese concepts and media in conjunction with his won sense and understanding of the modern world to create his work. An avid collector of ancient Chinese woodblock plates and coins, Feng Feng's modern abstract paintings also maintain a strong traditional Chinese aesthetic.
Born in 1956 to a prominent family, Feng Feng joined the army during the Cultural Revolution, as many artists did. He spent the first half of his life studying science and architecture in an effort to please his family, and accumulated a vast amount of knowledge, which would later play an important role in his painting. In 1984, he graduated from Tianjin University with a degree in architecture and went on to work as a journalist for several years. However, he never abandoned painting, which has always been his passion and primary means of expression.
Upon first glance, his work might seem simple, but after spending time with the artist and learning about his unique process of combining acrylic paint with "secret ingredients" (which the artist refuses to reveal), it becomes clear that there are many layers to Feng Feng's work. Achieving the right shade of red, green, or yellow, is no simple task – it can take more than 100 combinations of different colors to create the perfect hue. His work also has a three dimensional quality, which he achieves through his unique process of rubbing and pressing ancient Chinese woodblock plates
and coins against the back of his canvas, and hen heating it until he achieves the perfect texture. His paintings tell stories and reflect his interest in Chinese history, poetry, and art.
In previous work, Feng Feng has often explored themes of love and eroticism, loneliness and isolation – allowing viewers to peer into his private thoughts and world. He is known for his use of bold and vibrant colors. In this new body of work, Feng Feng uses woodblock plates (which he has been collecting for years) from the novel The Romance of the Three Kingdoms – one of the most popular historical novels in China. The story is about the epic battles between the Three Kingdoms for the control of China. Written 600 years ago, the novel chronicles the period of disunity and civil war. It began with the Three Kingdoms. These Kingdoms grew out of the three chief economic areas of the Han Dynasty. The leaders of the kingdoms strove to reunite the empire and were therefore at constant warfare. These Three Kingdoms were the Wei, in northern China, the Shu to the west, and the Wu in the east.
Although this epic takes place in China and records Chinese history, war and brutality are themes that can be found throughout history and around the world today. Death, suffering, destruction, and the desire for power are universal concepts that surpassed geographic borders and race. For his exhibition at Art Scene China, Feng Feng continues to use the traditional Chinese red door as a motif, but his color palette also includes darker shades of green and yellow. He continues to use his "rubbing technique" and boldly places battle scenes of murder and rape from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms onto each canvas. Visitors are encouraged to peer into the past and connect it with the present. Feng Feng sees a strong connection between this tale and the brutality in the world today. Feng Fen lives and works in Beijing as a professional painter. However, he sees himself more as a poet who uses his brush to retell and reinterpret the past in an attempt to better understand the present and the future.