One of the more lampooned artists of the Chinese Contemporary explosion during the aughts, Yue Minjun is getting serious consideration in Paris as the Fondation Cartier mounts a show of his work that explores the roots and message of his self-portraiture:
“During this initial process, I decided to create an icon, something that had not been done before,” Mr. Yue said. “It was not meant as a self-portrait in its traditional sense, but something more like a movie star acting in different roles.”
His laughing face became the means for a disguised political criticism — reflecting the obligatory mask of general contentment demanded in a society in which the appearance of the masses had become a state priority.
“The work of Yue Minjun speaks of lockups, of being fenced in,” Mr. Chandès said.
The ambiguity of his iconic character has enabled Mr. Yue to conceal his political message, albeit thinly. It has, nevertheless, allowed Mr. Yue to largely skirt trouble in China and reach a wider global audience.
The Many Faces of Yue Minjun (International Herald Tribune)