Yue Minjun: The Grassland Series
October 29, 2008 - December 6, 2008
32 East 57th Street

Lauded as one of the leading contemporary Chinese artists to emerge from China, Yue Minjun is an accomplished painter, sculptor and printmaker whose signature motif of gleefully laughing figures serve as caricatures that reflect the contradictions and absurdities of contemporary life. The artist is often included as part of the cynical realism movement that emerged in the mid-1990s in China and that came of age in the wake of the socio-political upheaval created by the Tiananmen Square demonstrations in Beijing. Using his own face as subject, Yue appropriates the phenomena of idolization so prevalent in our popular culture to create narratives and offer commentary on human nature. His mirthful characters remind us of the futility of action other than laughter at times while also providing an optimistic hope for the future.

The Grassland Series will be shown for the first time at Pace Prints and is composed of four screenprints printed by Pace Prints’ master printers at the Watanabe Studio and four woodcut engravings printed at Yue Minjun’s studio in Beijing. The series features Yue’s signature figures frolicking amid the open plains. Their subdued tones mark a deliberate departure from the artist’s bright palette that lends a sense of gravitas to the otherwise spirited compositions. Each print in the series is signed and numbered in an edition of eighty.

Yue Minjun was born in 1962 in Daquing, Heilongjiang province in the northeast region of China. He studied oil painting at Heibei Normal University from 1985 to 1989. Shortly after graduation, Yue moved to the Yuanmingyuan artist village in northwest Beijing and has continued to live and work in Beijing to the present. The artist has been included in many international exhibitions including the 48th Venice Biennale, 1999; Towards a New Image: Twenty Years of Contemporary Art Painting, National Art Museum of China, Beijing 2001; Mahjong: Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, 2005-2006; Shu: Reinventing Books in Contemporary Chinese Art, China Institute, New York 2006; and most recently the 2008 Shanghai Biennale. Yue’s first solo exhibition in the United States, Yue Minjun and the Symbolic Smile, was held in 2007 at the Queens Museum of Art and the Asia Society in New York. The Grassland Series is published by Pace Editions, Inc. and Ethan Cohen Fine Arts.

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