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Minjun Yue Art for Sale at Auction


Yue Minjun has rapidly become one of the best-recognised and most sought after members of the new Chinese avant-garde. Alongside Fang Lijun, he is one of the foremost practitioners of China's so-called "Cynical Realist" movement, and made his first splash internationally when he was selected by Harald Szeeman to participate in the 48th Venice Biennale in 1999. Prior to 1991, Yue Minjun spent his entire life in a danwei or state run work commune, where everyone had to conform to standardized dress and obey a tyrannical regime. Based in Beijing since the early 1990s, Yue first lived and worked in China's now-famous artist village Yuan Ming Yuan, and during that time began painting images of himself and his friends, primarily in exaggerated and mildly surrealistic settings. From this period of experimentation, Yue developed his signature style: images of himself grinning broadly, multiplied and elaborated in ever more absurd scenarios, works that despite their bold colors and unusual compositions, maintain at their core a biting and cynical view of the artist's social and political reality. While Yue's works are best known for this satirical edge, the impulse of Yuan Ming Yuan artists to paint themselves and the world around them should be seen as their first radical gesture. Resistant to the heavy-handed idealism of their Socialist Realist training, and alienated by the post-1989 cultural atmosphere, Yue and his contemporaries' focus on their own lives can be seen as a turn towards a celebration of the anti-hero. Indeed, Yue's works frequently maintain a somewhat contradictory attitude: a satirical and contemptuous view of contemporary social life, and a pervasive and fundamental sense of futility. (Christie's London,"Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Sale" February 7, 2008, Lot 445)

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