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fig.: Yue Minjun, Isolated Island, 2010; oil on canvas. Collection of the artist, Beijing. (C) Yue Minjun.
fig.: Portrait of Yue Minjun in his studio, Beijing, 2007. (C) Yue Minjun. Photo courtesy Yue Minjun Studio.

Cartoon inspired art as mirror

...for the viewer's own thoughts about socio-political situations. Are Yue Minjun's laughing figures set into a tragic or funny situation? Has the image to be read with humour?

From 14 November 2012 until 17 March 2013, Fondation Cartier in Paris exhibits works by Beijing-based painter, sculptor, installation artist Yue Minjun. It's the first major European exhibition of the Chinese artist. Fondation Cartier will present approximately 50 paintings from collections around the world, sculptures from the garden at his studio in Beijing, and drawings that have never been shown to the general public.

The images are self-portraits of the artist Yue Minjun (born 1962 in China) who works mainly about 'laughter' as cynical expression in the tradition of the art movement 'Cynical Realism' which evolved during the 90ies in China in times when globalization reached the country's economy.

Yue Minjun, who grew up during Mao Zedong Communism, says about his beginnings as an artist in the 90ies: "That's why the act of smiling, laughing
to mask feelings of helplessness has such significance for my generation."

"...his paintings express an ironic and disillusioned vision of the social and political situation in contemporary China and of the human condition in the modern world." is Yue Minjun's exhibited work explained on

Video: Yue Minjun's work inspired a YouTube user to make the fan video 'Frozen in Laughter', music 'All good Things' by the Ying Yang Twins (lyrics).

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