Six Ruins of Mount Wu
Veni Vidi We Young, China Academy of Art
Six Ruins of Mount Wu (Details)
Since 2017, Chen Fankuan had led a team to investigate and seek for the cultural relics within the mountains of the southern West Lake area, mapping the ruined sites of the lost dynasties. In 2018, with newly discovered relics and sites, Chen started the research project funded by China Academy of Art, focusing on the areas from Mount Phoenix to Mount Wu, where the ruins of the imperial palaces of the Southern Song Dynasty were buried. At the end of 2018, the project was upgraded into a national training program and received funds from the Ministry of Education.
Six Ruins of Mount Wu is a series of works based on a part of the research program. In cooperation with archaeologists, the epigraphs from Mount Phoenix to Mount Wu were recombined into enigmas of riddles, echoing the entwined, overlapping histories that the landscape had witnessed.
Lakshanas of Sentient Beings
31cmH x 22cmW (each), Chinese ink on paper
From Tibet to Burma, Swart Gallery, Hangzhou
Lakshanas of Sentient Beings is a series of portrait drawings from October to November 2017, when Fankuan was involved in an art program to reside with local minority tribes in the most remote parts of southwest China. With a team of researchers and students from China Academy of Art, they had stayed in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the valley of Jinsha River, living with Tibetan Lamas and thangka painters for half a month and then headed south all the way from the edge of the Tibetan plateau to the village of Lisu minority tribe on the Sino-Burmese border. Faces from the series of portrait drawings include Tibetans, Bai people, Nakhi people and Lisu people.
Phantom of the Ancient and the Present
Fragments of plastified books, shellac, Chinese ink, sodium chloride and acrylic with powdered pigments on canvas
155cmH x 81cmW
In 2016, Fankuan had participated in a project on the study of the remains of the ancient murals in Shanxi province, in which he was shocked by the poor preservation of cultural relics and severe environmental pollution from the enormous factories near the ruins of the ancient temples and palaces.
Phantom of the Ancient and the Present is a work finished in Hangzhou when Fankuan came back from Shanxi province. Covered with fragmentary texts from local chronicles, embedded in the conflict between large-scale development and the withering of great traditions, also critiqued on the side effects of the Chinese economic reform in the past thirty years.
Handscroll, Chinese ink on paper
214cmH x 317cmW
Up to the Mountains and Down to the Villages, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou
In April 2015, Chen Fankuan participated in a project to study the ancient Chinese sculptures in Shuilu Nunnery in Lantian County, Shaanxi Province, home to one of the most well-preserved and complete statue groups of Ming Dynasty.
Six Dharmapalas is one of the paintings recorded the preservation of the statue groups, also released suppression through the figure of Dharmapala, the dharma defender in Buddhism.