Yue Min-ju: Smile at the Flower

Smile at the Flower Sermon is a solo exhibition about 20 wonderful works by the contemporary Chinese artist Yue Min-ju, which showcases presents his iconic laugh series and the new flower series since the pandemic.

The artist's exaggerated signature smiley face presents a "Self-image", a collection that made him a legend of his generation and earned him international acclaim. The works reflect the experiences of people's lives during the unprecedented changes in Chinese society since the 1990s, from the wind of freedom blowing at a specific historical moment to the ups and downs of hope. Tiny glimpses of major historical events come alive on canvas as cheeky smiles or allegorical laughter. The ability to handle heavy topics with grace is evident. The strong visual impact of his smiling figure clearly conveys the artist's questioning attitude. Change is the only constant, and the series begins with symbolic painting and satirical appropriation of classic works of art in Chinese socialist propaganda posters, before moving on to unbridled aesthetic imagery. Behind the laughter and laughter, all of these paintings reflect the artist's up-close look at his own experience.

In 2020, the artist lived in Chuncheng, Yunnan for several months. The city's bounty of flowers bursting open in the haze of the pandemic inspired him to make an important breakthrough to create his Flower collection. Flowers are symbols of beauty and can be likened to the smiling faces of plants. Delicate flowers replace the smiling faces of the past, blooming enchantingly in front of the characters' faces, but this beauty is only decoration in his mind. Dissatisfied with the ubiquity of superficial views, and realizing that the truth is being hidden, viewers can't help but want to glimpse the mysterious expressions and emotions of the people behind the flowers. The context and pictorial significance of the figures whose facial features are concealed by flowers are complemented by their clothing, shapes, and gestures. As a result, the status, gender, and personality of the characters in the paintings give way to the needs of society. What are these flowers hiding? What have we lost? We cannot find a definite answer in the signifier of the flower.

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