born 1962, yue minjun is a contemporary chinese artist based in beijing.
he is best known for oil paintings which are portraits of himself in various settings,
depicted with a facial expression frozen in a wide-toothed laughter. these simplified,
ironic human figures with their disproportional large faces, open mouths and closed eyes
have become his signature throughout his work. through his paintings, watercolors, prints
and sculptures, yue minjun uses humor to express a turbulent period in modern china.
'I paint people laughing, whether it is a big laugh, a restrained laugh, a crazy-laugh,
a near-death laugh or simply laughter about our society: laughter can be about anything.
laughter is a moment when our mind refuses to reason. when we are puzzled by certain things,
our mind simply doesn’t want to struggle, or perhaps we don’t know how to think, therefore we
just want to forget it.
in chinese tradition you can't say things directly. you have to show something else for the
real meaning. I wanted to show a happy smile and show that behind it is something sad,
and even dangerous.' - yue minjun