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2023 Spring Auctions > Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art
Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art

Fu Rao (b.1978)
This Life, the Past Life(Painted in 2019)

Oil on canvas

92 × 130 cm. 36 1/4 × 51 1/8 in

Titled in Chinese, signed in Chinese and pinyin, and dated on the reverse

2019, Infinitrace: Rao Fu, Mind Set Art Center, Taipei, p. 38-39
12 Jul – 22 Sep 2019, Infinitrace: Rao Fu Solo Exhibition, Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei

Mind Set Art Center, Taipei
Private Collection, Asia

This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity issued by Taipei Mind Set Arts Center and signed by the artist

Looking Back at Times, Cherishing Every Moments
The Passage of Time in Fu Rao's This Life, the Past Life

As an adventurous artist, contemporary artist Fu Rao instills his study of culture, humanities, and philosophy into his narratives, and explores the ubiquitous topic of time and life. Fu conveys drama, scenery and vibrancy through tonality and brushwork. Born in Beijing in 1978, Fu studied at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts, Germany in 2001. His academic practice was art molding and psychology. Throughout his academic study and oeuvre, there were telling and influential signs by Vincent Van Gogh, Peter Doig, and Edvard Munch. With background and upbringing in Beijing, he introduced Oriental landscapes to German romanticism. A range of brushwork and movement became his personalized narrative and language in depicting sceneries involving imagination, dreams and reality. Since 2012, his prolific works were widely collected by Eastern and Western collectors. Fu held solo exhibitions at the Göttingen Museum of Fine Arts, the Contemporary Art Center in Luxembourg, and the Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei. His works are also in the permanent collections of the National Museum of History and Art in Luxembourg and the Dresden City Art Museum.

Intertwining Romanticism and Souls, a Bacon of Life is Born

Fu Rao's This Life, the Past Life can be perceived as a tribute to Edvard Munch's iconic painting Eye in Eye. In Fu's painting, the flowing brushwork and classical tonality creates a scenery that reminds us of a Rococo and Western-style courtyard. Fu cleverly places the two main characters under two vertical and straight cypress trees, with deep shadows to set off the flowing light around the characters. In simple contours, the wavy brushwork and shadow add a sense of reality in the character. The layout is reminiscent of a lady's dress, while the man dresses in a suit. Despite their vague facial features, the darkened colours present a layer of mystery in their side-profile stance.

Looking through the extended space between the trees, swaths of vibrant purple fills the sky. With green shrubs in the distance, the blue and shallow lake in the near distance, and the boats swimming there, the play of perspective and distance expands light all the way to the foreground, until it reaches the woman's dress and outline. In warm tonality, the woman radiates an array of positive ambience, like imagery of the sun. In Fu Rao's works, the imagery of light often reflects and suggests the inner emotions of the characters. In the garden, orange and rose-like colours illuminate the scenery, as if to symbolize the woman's innate power of life. In contrast, the man is portrayed with cool tonality of purple and dark green. Standing with his back turned, it gradually blends with the colour of the trees, showing a quiet and detached aura. It could be perceived as a man of the distant past. While intimacy is apparent between the characters, the gesture, distance and colour suggests a moment of intertwined romanticism and time that was shared, but also conveys a story of past and present lives. Moreover, identity and gender, affinity and distance between the characters are also replaced and reborn in the flow of time. In a passage of time, it dissolves emotions and physical distance between past lives and present lives.

Under Fu Rao's brushwork, he seamlessly combines light and exuberant calligraphy with iconic European Naturalism gestures and composition. The combination of the two transforms an ordinary scene into a sensual, dream-like reality. The souls of the characters are further enhanced through their gestures and stance. Each speaks to a synergy of hope and power.

Price estimate:
HKD: 90,000 – 150,000
USD: 11,500 – 19,100

Auction Result:
HKD: 204,000



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