Born in Beijing in 1958, Fu Lei’s elaborate oil paintings capture the notion of excess in today’s world. Plump figures decorated in pearls and dainty high-heels frolic amongst toads, flamingos, snails and fruit in an absurd yet uncannily familiar world. The subtle point of a toe as it emerges from the tangle of flesh reveals the underlying theme of lust, framed by the sheen of draped silk sheets and the enveloping wing of a crane in a display of somewhat faux modesty.
Although set in the clouds, just beyond the periphery of our realm, Fu Lei’s baroque scenes address the entirely real subject of vice and desire in contemporary society. Despite being based in the thriving 798 Art Zone in Beijing, the artist stresses that his observations of lust and gluttony extend beyond contemporary China: “the inspirations of my creation come from the freedom of not fixing my mind on any culture, region, pattern or even species”. Fu Lei holds a mirror up to the viewer without interrogating him, allowing him a mere moment of guilt, shame or perhaps despair before the eye begins to notice the absurd and humorous motifs that are carefully arranged amongst the orchestrated jumble.
Indeed, the artist is fully committed to escapism, perpetually searching for avenues to enter his imagination or to “flee away from the real world and escape into a realm of illusion”. By leading the viewer up into the clouds, Fu Lei allows him a brief glimpse into a world that he has always wanted to experience, a kind of wonderland that exists only in the mind. In this world, the vices of lust and gluttony are re-imagined, stripped of their negativity and redefined as marvellous dreams of desire.
“In China today, Fu Lei has achieved an entirely unique artistic language. His universe reflects the excess of our societies, playing with symbols and reflecting the desires of our world. We are happy to introduce his most recent work to Singapore and to continue to share his talents with a wider audience” – Frédéric de Senarclens, founder and director of Art Plural Gallery.
This November Art Plural Gallery Singapore presents Dreams of Desire, a solo exhibition featuring the work of Chinese artist Fu Lei. Running from 14th November to 30th December 2014, Fu Lei’s exhibition unveils 5 large-scale oil paintings created exclusively for the occasion and a selection of drawings.