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La Kopi with Zhang Fuming

Our guest artist for the month of September was Zhang Fuming, who gamely took over the reins of our Instagram Story feed replete with photos, videos and glimpses of his studio and works in progress.

"Much like human life, not everything is pretty or of the best conditions and expectations. I find the contrast of the organic forms between wild flora and landscapes, and my current favourite motif — a suited figure — a good visual contrast."

A regular day of work for Fuming. Courtesy of the artist.

Within the span of the seven days where Fuming attempted his takeover, we were able to witness the printmaker's passion for his craft, one that is clearly evident from the care that he took in the maintenance of his carving tools and woodblocks. We learnt too, from watching Fuming's studio updates, that sometimes an entire day can pass by when he is immersed in the printing process.

A sampling of Fuming's many preparatory sketches. Courtesy of the artist.

Detailed view of a woodblock. Courtesy of the artist.

And yet, what keeps Fuming going is the continuing evolvement of his artistry in printmaking, and the refinement of his artistic subjects that come in the form of your regular humans depicted in stark black-and-whites, in a social-realist manner that remains authentic to the present-day concerns of society. 

Rice Hill, 2020, Woodblock print, 120 x 120 cm.

Unframed at $1,400.

An extension of the rice bowl motif regularly incorporated by Fuming into his work, Rice Hill reveals the faint silhouette of a podium atop a hill, with figures in the foreground assuming the classic aspirational pose of a father/child scene that is often portrayed in posters, advertisements etc. While the child's hand gestures are suggestive of advancement or progress, the grimaces on the father's face and his strained body language betray the bitterness of “getting there”, if at all. At the top right corner of the composition, a naively-illustrated sun hangs above jarringly: an all-too-positive symbol that ironically brings to light the difficult reality of fulfilling the expectations of society today.

Rice Hill underscores Fuming's latest fascination with wild flora and landscapes. The print marks the start of a brand new series of work that offers visual representations of organic forms inspired by the juxtaposition of nature with allegorical impressions.

Untitled (Life Drawing), 2010, Charcoal on paper, 29.5 x 41.5 cm.

Unframed at SGD 300.

Untitled (Life Drawing), 2010, Charcoal on paper, 41.5 x 29.5 cm.

Unframed at SGD 300.

Untitled (Life Drawing), 2010, Charcoal on paper, 41.5 x 29.5 cm.

Unframed at SGD 300.

Untitled (Life Drawing), 2010, Charcoal on paper, 41.5 x 29.5 cm.

Unframed at SGD 300.


We all know – that art at its core has always been about the forging of genuine connections between artists and their collectors. Hot off our La Kopi feature on Zhang Fuming is an introspective photo essay contributed by Danny Imson, who has very generously photographed and penned down his reflections after spending an afternoon at Fuming's studio.

As a music composer and educator who imparts compositional techniques and new technology in his professional field, Danny found resonance with Fuming's approach of not revealing too much about his art. Instead, he prefers for listeners of his music compositions to be left to their own devices and draw personal conclusions about how the music should be interpreted. 

Because creation primarily takes shape in the confines of the studio, a visit to an artist's studio is almost always accompanied by an undercurrent of anticipation. Danny writes, "I regard artist studios as sacred spaces, a space to detach oneself from realities and translate imaginations into tangible forms. In this space I learn and understand about the tools, materials, processes, specific approaches and preferences of an artist."

From one art practitioner to another, we hope you'll enjoy the intimate experience of encountering Fuming's practice through his creative space as much as we did!


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