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“Untitled (No. 12)” hails from the “Smile-ism” series and is largely descriptive of the artist’s visual strategy that frequently employs a figure of a laughing man. Often basing his compositions on well-known European masterpieces and iconic Chinese art, Yue Minjun subverts the grandiosity of art history through his adaptation of Pop aesthetics. Using both the exaggerated expressiveness of cartooning and the stylistic rendering of graphic illustration, Yue Minjun depicts his doppelgänger as contorted and grotesque, with scalded pink skin and a maniacally toothy smile.
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In his avant-garde oil paintings and works on paper, Beijing-based artist Yue Minjun (b.1962) employs self-portraiture as a vector to describe his own cultural landscape. Often multiplying images of himself laughing, Minjun creates a cast of characters that recreates poses and scenes from canonical works in Western art history. In 2007, his painting the 'Execution' broke records for the most expensive work of Chinese contemporary art to be sold, reaching $5.9 million dollars at Sotheby’s. He studied oil painting at the Hebei Normal University between 1985 and 1989.