Yue Minjun's A-Mazing Laughter Installation Photos: Vancouver Biennale

Tuesday September 22nd, 2009

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Swallowing golden light at sunset. Photo by Sean Cranbury.

A truck full of long wooden boxes and a crane showed up in the early morning hours at Morton Triangle near English Bay to unload a precious cargo.

The cargo, still cocooned in clear plastic wrap, was Yue Minjun’s figurative sculpture A-Mazing Laughter.  14 figures – each standing roughly 8′ high – sculpted in 7 different, evocative positions.  With more teeth than ever thought possible & squinting eyes, the figures are bent forward, leaning back, making funny gestures with their hands.

Are they laughing, are they playing?  Or is something else happening here?  What’s behind that smile?  Is it a smile, is it something else?

And who pays for the dental work?

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The installation site from up above.  Photo by Dan Fairchild.

The theme for Phase One of the Vancouver Biennale is “In-transit-ion”

To kick off “In-transit-ion” is the arrival of “A-Mazing Laughter” by artist Yue Minjun (China). The installation will take place on Monday September 21, 2009 at Morton Triangle located at English Bay between Denman and Davie Streets. The Vancouver Biennale has also chosen this location, in and amongst this incredible sculpture installation, as the site for the official launch on October 27, 2009, where media, sponsors and friends will gather for a ribbon cutting ceremony and sculpture tour.

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Still wrapped tight, the sculpture waits for freedom.  Photo Dan Fairchild.

“A-Mazing Laughter” consists of multiple figures depicting the artist’s own iconic laughing image, all with gaping grin and closed eyes in a state of hysterical laughter. The longer you look at the cast bronze figures, the more evident the contradiction between the animated laughter and the silent, frozen form of sculpture. It is cartoon like and playful, yet curious and intense.

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Looks like some sort of jamboree is about to erupt.  Photo by Dan Fairchild.

The Vancouver Biennale brings sculptures, new media and performance works by celebrated and emerging international artists to Vancouver and surrounding area parks, beaches and urban plazas, transforming our city into an open-air museum. Pursuing the theme “In-transit-ion”, the exhibition is situated along bike routes, on buses, at the Vancouver International Airport and at new Canada Line rapid transit stations.

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Infectious laughter.  Photo by Dan Fairchild.

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