Yue Minjun - BRIC Theme Sale London Friday, April 23, 2010 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Schoeni Art Gallery, Hong Kong; acquired directly by the present owner from the above

  • Exhibited

    Beijing, Schoeni Art Gallery, Beijing Inaugural Exhibition/10th Anniversary Celebration, 16 March - 16 April 2002

  • Literature

    Exhibition catalogue, Schoeni Art Gallery, Beijing Inaugural Exhibition/10th Anniversary Celebration, Beijing/Hong Kong, 16 March - 16 April 2002

  • Catalogue Essay

    "I'm actually trying to make sense of the world. There's nothing cynical or absurd in what I do. I developed this painting where you see someone laughing. At first you think he's happy, but when you look more carefully, there's something else there. A smile doesn't necessarily mean happiness; it could be something else."
    "In China there's a long history of the smile. There is the Maitreya Buddha who can tell the future and whose facial expression is a laugh. Normally there's an inscription saying that you should be optimistic and laugh in the face of reality. There were also paintings during the Cultural Revolution period, those Soviet-style posters showing happy people laughing. But what's interesting is that normally what you see in those posters  is the opposite of reality. I'm not laughing at anybody else, because once you laugh at others, you'll run into trouble, and can create obstacles. This is the way to do it if you want to make a parody of the things behind the image... It's not a denial of reality but a questioning of it. And that laugh  - anybody who's gone through Chinese recent experience would understand it."
    (Yue Minjun, quoted in Richard Berstain, 'An Artist's Famous Smile: What Lies Behind It?', New York Times, 13 November 2007)


99 Idol Series No. 73

Oil on canvas.
25.5 x 20 cm (10 x 7 7/8 in)

£30,000 - 50,000 

Sold for £70,850

BRIC Theme Sale

23-24 April 2010