Author: YUE MINJUN 岳敏君
Signed and dated: Painted in 2007
Final Price: RMB 6,000,000
2007 Contemporary Artists Collection / P92 / Sichuan Fine Arts Publishing House
2008 Lovely Blossoms and Full Moon / P114-115 / Yuz Museum
2010 New China, New Arts: Interviews with Contemporary Chinese Artists / P47 / Artists Publishing House
signed in pinyin, dated 2007
2008 Lovely Blossoms and Full Moon, The Yuz Museum, Indonesia
The item is held under the bonded status, for more details, please see the Notice on Auction of Bonded Lots.
The iconic giggling figure in Yue Minjun’s works---a bald, close-eyed, laughing pink person appears in various strange forms in different time and space---can be regarded as one of the most recognizable symbols in the field of Chinese contemporary art. The inspiration of the giggling person comes from Yue Minjun’s self-image. Yue constantly uses symbolic images to increase his painting proficiency and make fun of himself: “The reason why this person giggles is that he feels confused and at a loss, and can only show it to the world with the most primitive expression.” Giggling one, therefore, can also be regarded as a kind of collective image of all living beings in the process of rapid social change in China. Through this stylized image, the artist captures the huge pressure and helplessness that people have encountered in the process of social transformation since the reform and opening up 30 years ago and steers clear of heavy social subjects in a humorous way. Yue Minjun therefore becomes a representative artist of the trend of “Cynical Realism”. The artistic concept of “Cynical Realism” was put forward by the critic Li Xianting. It means that a group of free artists express their close attention to the current living state with the artistic style of cynicism and ridicule, as well as the dual elimination of political ideology and commercial ideology in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Yue Minjun’s paintings depict characters in monochrome painting language, using geometric structure in composition and adopting gaudy and monotonous colors similar to commercial advertisements to create a superficial and absurd atmosphere and metaphorical meaning. As the artist Yue said, “The image of the giggling person is a guarantee for me to ensure that everything will be better, just like the promise of Buddhism to be perfect in the next life.”
The creation of giggling person lasted for more than 20 years. The seemingly one-faced face has changed in different periods. For Yue, the giggling person is never a finished work, nor a fragmentary representation of a certain period, but like “a long-term state of our nation”. In constant modification and development, especially since the turn of the millennium, the giggling person’s smile has become more exaggerated than ever before and has been placed in a variety of fictional contexts. The Backyard Garden, created in 2007, is a masterpiece of the post-millennium era. In the painting, four giggling figures are placed in a classic Chinese ancient garden scene. The composition is broad and compendious, with water as its center. Stones of different sizes and irregular shapes surround the pool. Trees are luxuriant in the distance, and ancient tower buildings are faintly visible. Surprisingly, a fountain appears in the pool, suddenly breaking the classic and quiet atmosphere of the picture. The four giggling figures act strangely with their laughing mouths exaggerating over almost half of their faces. Through a seemingly obtrusive arrangement and juxtaposition of elements, Yue Minjun aims to emphasize a profound cultural conflict and collision rooted in the current real life.