Publications

Here is a selection of publications covering Fan Dongwang's art work.

Melissa Chiu

​Asia Society Museum director - ​Breakout: Chinese Art Outside China

 

 

The first book to focus on China's artistic diaspora - and to differentiate it from the artistic community inside China-Breakout assembles the work of 14 artists who left China around the time of the 1989 June Fourth Movement at Tiananmen Square. Now settled in New York, Paris and Sydney, over the past decade these artists-including Cai Guo-Qiang, Xu Bing, Wenda Gu, Zhang Huan, Huang Yong Ping and Chen Zhen-have become leading international figures, showing at major museums such as Tate Modern in London and The Museum of Modern Art in New York. Breakout features in-depth analyses of exhibitions and artwork, along with detailed biographical studies based on extensive interviews with the artists. The book's author, Melissa Chiu, is a leading authority on Asian art. Dr Fan Dongwang is considered by Melissa Chiu (Asia Society Museum director) in her book Breakout: Chinese Art Outside China, as one of the 14 influential Chinese diaspora artists worked internationally.

 

Bernice Murphy

Constellations From Shanghai, Shanghai Star National Touring Exhibition, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, 2001

 

Dongwang's paintings arise from his experiences both in China and Australia. Born in Shanghai, a former student of Yu Youhan in the 1980s, Fan Dongwang's development as an artist has been shaped in multiple directions since he migrated to Australia, continued his formal studies further; and developed a home base here. Fan Dongwang’s painting continues to explore veins of material from his source culture (in China), while also dealing with subjects drawn from life as he has experienced it for a decade in his adopted culture (in Australia). The results evident in his paintings recently disclosed a provocative synthesis – not really a fusion, but actually a kind of montage - in which he combines utterly disparate imagery from both contexts. (Earlier paintings shown at Wollongong showed images of athletes and Australian sporting heroes incorporated within paintings setting out dragons and other figures drawn from Chinese decorative arts.)

Edmund Capon

Fan Dongwang - Dragon

Catalogue Essay, 50th Anniversary Book Macquarie University Art Gallery 2014

 

"We are left in no doubt about Fan Dongwang’s heritage or his unerring attachment to the profound traditions of his motherland. The image and the medium of his art are electric, contemporary and urbane, reflecting in many ways the very pulse of the city of his birth, Shanghai. And yet in content his art and especially his most effective and emphatic subject, the fearsome and flamboyant dragon, is powerfully indebted to deeply inscribed and definitive Chinese history and culture.

Fan transforms that ancient and elemental image into one of twenty-first century colour and flourish with all the panache of the contemporary and the vernacular of technology. He is confronting the diverse sensibilities of his own experience, a life that has brought him from China to Australia, in his art which is the meeting of east and west, of ancient and modern and achieving it all in the most engaging and contemporary visual language, a billboard style with a hint of humour."

Fan Dongwang
A book of Paintings 2002

This Book presents Chinese Australian artist Fan Dongwang's recent paintings including serials of Descendant, Descendant Body, Shifting perspective, Dragon and others.

 

Forward essay by Professor Diana Wood Conroy: Fan Dongwang - Shifting Perspectives between China and Australia.

 

​This book is sponsored by the Australian Council of the Arts.

Rod Pattenden 

Culture is Difference: I only see Shadows

Catalogue Essay, Macquarie University touring exhibition Vantage Point – the Art of Fan Dongwang, 2005-2006

These images crackle and flash. The artist – Fan Dongwang – is conjuring a game of illumination and illusion. With electric urgency they pop out into the world of the viewer breaking apart the apparent flatness of two-dimensional space. These works seem to mimic the vibrancy of the computer screen and rehearse the graphic confidence of the advertising billboard. This incessant pushing of colour and surfaces does create however an ironic condition. Underneath the pop polish there is a ground cracking with shadows, fragments and uncertain edges. These aspects of shadow and perspective are the real focus of interest for the artist. They are also the means by which a painting is able to draw in the viewer and establish a world of common culture.

Rhonda Davis

Resurrecting the Dragon

Catalogue essay, Fan Dongwang solo exhibition at Wilson Street Gallery, Sydney 2009


The significance of Dongwang reworking the mythological dragon within a post colonial context predicates a deeper understanding of cultural relations. The dragon series makes direct encounter with issues such as nationalism and its formulation, identity and Australia’s ongoing relationship with China. On a national level, the series is exploring the impact of cross-cultural relations, and on a personal note, Fan is conveying his own ambivalence in living between two cultures – these major elements are bought to the fore through the vehicle of the dragon.  

Caroline Turner

Fan Dongwang: Face of the Dragon

Catalogue essay, 2004 Drawing Biennale exhibition, Drill Hall Gallery, ANU. 


When I first saw Dr Fan Dongwang's powerful drawings my thoughts went immediately to the mysterious animal masks that adorn many of the magnificent bronze ritual vessels from ancient China which I was fortunate to help bring to Australia in an exhibition in 1990.' The zoomorphic mask decorations in raised relief, the result of superb casting technique, represented both nature and supernatural forces. Their mystery and power speak to viewers across thousands of years. Fan Dongwang's drawings capture much of the same sense of mystery and power. Of course they are also absolutely of NOW. These vividly coloured depictions of the traditional Chinese symbol of the dragon remind one equally of Western Pop art, billboards or 3D computer generated images.

Rosemary Crumlin
The Blake Book 2012

This book has a collection of many images from the Blake exhibition for 50 years. In it there is an image of the Chinese Australian artist Fan Dongwang's painting China Maze which depicting the spiritual symbol of ancient Chinese religious ritual.

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