Tuesday, December 11, 2012

YUE MINJUN: L' Ombre du fou rire or The Shadow of giggles

Start your day with a good laugh with L'Ombre du fou rire, a series of paintings peopled by enigmatically laughing characters, the first major exhibition in Europe dedicated to the Chinese artist Yue Minjun.

Born in 1962 in the city of Daqing in Heilongjiang Province in China, Yue Minjun is an icon of contemporary Chinese painting. Considered one of the protagonists of "Cynical Realism," an art movement that emerged after the student demonstrations in Tiananmen Square in 1989, he began developing his own distinctive iconography in the 1990s, which combines pictorial references with historical references.

Yue Minjun's paintings are immediately recognizable: they are painted in bright colors on large canvases and featured almost exclusively laughing male figures, all which are self-portraits presented either as a single figure or replicated over and over again to form a battalion of grinning frozen-faced clones. These figures appear in grotesque poses or in mock execution scenes, creating an atmosphere of tension that oscillates between the lighthearted and the outrageous, the mundane and the excessive, offering an often implicit satire of contemporary Chinese society.

Yue Minjun's participation in the Venice Biennale in 1999 brought him worldwide fame and opened the doors of the international art market to him. Today, Yue Minjun is considered one of the most influential artists of his generation.

Yue Minjun, L'Ombre du fou rire is currently on exhibit at the Fondation Cartier, from November 14, 2012 to March 17, 2013.

Yue Minjun
L'Ombre du fou rire
Untitled, 1994
© Yue Minjun

Sky, 1997
© Yue Minjun

The Sun, 2000
© Yue Minjun

AD 3009, 2008
© Yue Minjun

Bystander, 2011
© Yue Minjun

I am Dragon-3, 2008
© Yue Minjun

Memory-2, 2000
© Yue Minjun

Untitled, 1998
© Yue Minjun

Water, 1998
© Yue Minjun

Portrait of Yue Minjun in his studio, Beijing, May 2007
© Yue Minjun
Photo courtesy Yue Minjun Studio

Yue Minjun, L'Ombre du fou rire
November 14, 2012 to March 17, 2013

This post is featured on the HuffPost Arts & Culture

1 comment:

  1. Wow. This series is really amazing. I want to laugh with him. I didn't realize he used himself as the subject for his paintings. I wondered why they all looked alike. I'm so glad he has received world-wide recognition and fame. He deserves it. I like that he's seems to be criticizing contemporary Chinese society too.


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