Fan Bo: Emerging from Shadow
eMoCA Shenzhen
September 14, 2017—January 8, 2018

FanBo, Big Pathological Section, 400 x 280 cm, mix media on paper, 2017

FanBo, Pathological Section, 17,35 x 28cm, mix media on paper, 2016

FanBo, Image Beyond Words 32, paper, 55 × 39cm, 2015

FanBo, The Archeological Report (part 4), variable, stainless steel, braille books, photography, 2017

FanBo, photo from The Archeological Report

FanBo, The Fable, variable, tree, paper, mirror, 2017

FanBo, The Fable, variable, tree, paper, mirror, 2017, part 3

FanBo, The Fable, variable, tree, paper, mirrr3, 2017, part 7

FanBo, The Fable, variable, tree, paper, mirror, 2017, part 12

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Fan Bo is an interdisciplinary artist leading with topics, medias and contexts appropriated to his main interests as the exploration into mind and the subsequent exchange with different protagonists from the society. The development of his artistic career is celebrated in the exhibition "Emerging from Shadow/Emerging from the Essence" - the first retrospective presentation of his Oueuvre conceived for the eMoCA (e Museum of contemporary Art) in ShenZhen.

Perception dominates his art work. At the beginning the artist dedicated himself to the representation of Human Being in figurative realistic paintings dominated by full body portraits accompanied by attributes of daily life. It was a long journey passing by abstract and concept works in a temptation of representation of the unseen and untouchable human mind. Instead of painting the physical human representation the artist has decided to develop an intensive relation to the interior of the human being. This process was acquired through Fan Bo`s insertion into the universe of a very sensitive minority, namely blind people and their Braille writing, which is one of their main venues of communication with the external world, parallel to the verbal communication itself. With no knowledge of Braille, Fan Bo nevertheless created a complex semantic body of works as "World", "Pathological Section" and "B2" as an exercise of immersion in the subjective microcosmos of this minority. The fact that their way of seeing, feeling and reacting has no access to the visual pathological potential seems to provide a chance for assimilation and discovery of a certain powerful darkness preserved in unexpected facets that is exempt from visual excess of trivial life.

It seems to be the predestination of an artist to represent and to give visibility and response to the unseen through his art work. To be a multiplicator and communicator of the blindness experience is to journey into the unique introspective richness. Fan Bo has assumed this responsibility and he announced in an interview: "My exploration into mind will never change; however, the way the idea is presented on the progress I make will depend on the unknown power". This unknown power emerges like an input for the creation of new works conceived for this exhibition. As an extension of the unseen perception, it has been acquired through experimental approaches similar to those adopted in activities in an alchemist sensorial laboratorium. The results highlight the plurality of creative style in conjunction with a progression of logic supported by the resources of the new media.

In this scenario Fan Bo develops, as a phenomenologist, two bodies of works related to external or internal experiences respectively. This duality called the attention of the artist specially by the book "The Visible and Invisible" by Merleau-Ponty, which argues for the foundational role that perception plays in understanding the world as well as engaging with the world. Works in "The Fable", "The Archeological Report" and the "B2" Series give external visibility to the subjective perception of the world by the blind individuum, who are rarely invited to express their own reality. "The Fable" is an interactive work developed by the participation of a group of blind people invited to describe a tree based on their own perception of shape, form, structure and details. Each one of them had a singular way to represent the same tree through their own perceptual lens and way of watching and experiencing the world. Each one delivered a singular response, own signature, own perspective of the unseen but perceived tree in an unique level of creation and notion of reality. "The Archeological Report" places on a designed bookshelf made of glass and mirror, where books written in Braille are placed. The visitors without vision loss cannot identify the content of the books but are surprised by the duplication of their image and of the space through the mirror surface. Here the blind visitor would just have the feeling that he is in front of a conventional bookshelf not experiencing the spatial complexity of the work. The "B2" Series, on the other hand, makes use of the appropriation of the Braille dots in a playful way. The dots are placed on the canvas or other image carriers as an allusion to this secret language. Fan Bo goes a step further by making the dots out of enlarged pills ironically used to cure diseases, but the blindness has no cure. The meaning of vision has to be enlarged and substituted indeed by the perception.

The internal experience is highlighted by works as "The Gaze", "The Breathing" and "Fountain". "Gaze" attempts to capture humans bodies information that is gained by medical instruments of high technology. Using new media Fan Bo transfers to the viewers the experience of the "invisible internal world". "The Breathing" is also a interactive work composed by blood vessels of 10 individuals (5 blind and 5 normal). The material is presented in ten videos with manipulated time structure in order to destruct the real time. The audience, after knowing about the selection of the participators, tries to identify automatically singularities of the two groups, a utopia based on cliches imposed by the uninformed society. "The Fountain" is an allusion to a gushing fountain, but in fact the image is a screenshot from a motion image of the blood vessels of a patient with severe atherosclerosis. This vibrant image does not reveal the disease or even the environment and style of life from the individuum. After knowing the background the audience would try to pick up traces of the sickness and its pain.

Fan Bo manifests through his artwork the sense of perception, which is present and quite abstract at the same time. He gives visibility to the internal perception in conjunction with the external or sensory perception, which tells us about the world outside our bodies. Using our senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. The apex of this experience would be the challenge of mixed internal and external perception telling us about what is going on in our bodies and about the perceived cause of our bodily perceptions. Luckily contemporary art and artists are conscious of their bright potential and expertise. As Fan Bo declares: "I did not invest much of my former creative experiences, or symbols, in these works. I am closer to establishing an experimental mechanism or building a laboratory in multiple senses".

Tereza Arruda, Berlin, August 2017

eMoCA Shenzhen [visit website]
First Floor, Creative Free Trade Zone Building, Binlang Road, Futian Free Trade Zone, Shenzhen, China
Exhibition period: September 14, 2017—January 8, 2018