Looking Back: Installing Amazing Laughter in Morton Triangle
Monday March 15th, 2010
It was a gorgeous September day when Yue Minjun’s super-popular figurative sculpture was unpacked from the boxes that it had been shipped across the Pacific in.
A giant crane plucked the figures from the boxes and raised them into the sky. Still wrapped in plastic, glistening in the sunlight.
The crane put the figures gently down into Morton Triangle where they were put in place and quickly became the most popular pieces of the first part of the Vancouver Biennale Exhibition 2009 – 2011.
Patinated bronze Yue Minjun (China)
Yue Minjun uses his own iconic face in a state of hysterical laughter as a signature trademark.
Recognized universally as a sign of happiness, the smile raises questions of intent and interpretation.
One of the most influential contemporary artists in China, Yue Minjun represents the new wave of Chinese artistic freedom. Amazing Laughter marks Yue MOnjun’s Canadian debut.
In Amazing Laughter Beijing-based artist Yue Minjun depicts his own iconic laughing image, with gaping grins and closed eyes in a state of hysterical laughter.
These laughing figures are the signature trademark of the artist. They are not a conventional self-portrait, as they tell us little about the person portrayed or of the reason they are laughing so hysterically.
The longer you look at these cast bronze figures, the more the contradiction of the silent, frozen form of sculpture begins to intrude. We see, but do not hear the laughter.
The contorted poses of the figure suggest animation and a cartoon form of an anonymous person. The laughter appears to be convulsive, intense, and manic, but also insincere and forced. The scale is “un-naturally” large –exaggerated and excessive like the laughter.
Yue Minjun was a leading figure in what became to be known in the 1990’s as Cynical Realism, an artistic movement that emerged in China after the 1989 student demonstrations in Tiananmen and the suppression of artistic expression.
Humor, cynicism, repetition and an emphasis on the individual are common characteristics of this artistic movement. Yue Minjun was one of the first artists to translate this new ironic view of contemporary life, one that is expressed in the nihilistic hilarity at a time when little was funny.
For more information visit www.yueminjun.com