Shadow Plays is the first Los Angeles solo exhibition of influential Beijing-based artist Cao Fei. Bringing together two of the artist’s landmark projects, the exhibition explores the artist’s investigations of the intensities and peculiarities of contemporary urban life in China.
Cao Fei creates universes in her works—surreal dystopias and fantastic utopias inspired by the rapidly changing social and economic conditions of her immediate environment. Her work is marked by a keen understanding of global popular culture and the deep psychological impact of new technologies; articulating cultural shifts with an abiding sense of playfulness.
Haze and Fog (2013) is a meditation on alienation among the burgeoning middle class of present-day China. In a vast apartment complex, quiet tension accumulates through glimpses of the strange daily existence of its inhabitants and workers, refracted in the literal haze and emotional fog of what the artist calls the “over-imaginative reality” of 21st Century Beijing. RMB City (2007-2011) is a virtual metropolis developed by Cao Fei’s avatar, China Tracy, within the game Second Life. RMB City became a site for experimentation and collaboration where the historical, simulated and real mingled. RMB City Planning (2007-2011) showcases its development over the course of five years. People’s Limbo in RMB City (2009) is a series of dream-like scenarios, quotidian activities, and social interactions that unfold in RMB City as the avatars of Karl Marx, Chairman Mao, Lao Tzu, and a Lehman Brothers executive, among others, create a new social space.
Cao Fei: Shadow Plays is organized by The Mistake Room and curated by Kris Kuramitsu, TMR Deputy Director and Senior Curator.
The Mistake Room’s programs are made possible thanks to the generous support of its Board of Directors; Big Mistake Patron Group; Mistake Patron Group; Director’s Council; and Contemporary Council. Special thanks to the Fowler Museum at UCLA. In-kind support is provided by House Beer.
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