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'Untitled No. 1' 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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Through avant-garde oil paintings and works on paper, Beijing-based artist Yue Minjun (b.1962) employs self-portraiture to explore broader cultural and societal landscapes. By multiplying scores of images of himself laughing, Minjun creates casts of grinning characters to recreate poses and scenes from the Western canon of art history. In a 2007 sale at Sotheby’s, his painting, the 'Execution,' sold for $5.9, becoming the most expensive work of Chinese contemporary art to be sold at the time.