Cao Fei: Haze and Fog

Opening: Thursday, March 17, 2016, 8pm Cao Fei is one China’s most prominent contemporary artists and her work explores the country’s rapid transformation following the Cultural Revolution and the effects of foreign influence throughout its recent development. Her phenomenal video, Haze and Fog, (2013, 46 min.), is a new type of zombie movie set in modern China. Contrary to the tropes of violence, shock, and suspense in horror movies as we know them, Haze and Fog focuses on people up close, slowly, and in detail. It examines the phenomenon of “internal migration” in contemporary China through a series of short scenes that come together to form one coherent story. What at first seems to be a critical glance at modernized Chinese culture via nostalgia for ancient wisdom is actually the complex use of characters who question our understanding of right and wrong, progress and tradition.

In Haze and Fog, Cao Fei probes her personal and cultural relationship to metropolitan China. Rather than positioning good vs. evil, Cao Fei’s major new video explores how the collective consciousness of people living in the era of what the artist calls “magical metropolises” emerges from seemingly tedious, mundane, day-to-day life. This “magic reality” is created through a struggle at the tipping point between the visible and the invisible.

Cao Fei (b. 1978) is based in Beijing and is known for multimedia installations and videos that reflect on the rapid and chaotic changes that are occurring in Chinese society today. She is acknowledged as one of the key artists of a new generation emerging from mainland China. She mixes social commentary, popular aesthetics, references to Surrealism, and documentary conventions in her films and installations. Haze and Fog was screened at the Tate Modern, London (2014) and her other works have been presented at the Chinese Pavilion of the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007), the 17th and 15th Biennale of Sydney (2006/2010), Moscow Biennale (2005), Shanghai Biennale (2004), 50th Venice Biennale (2003), the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) and the Guggenheim Museum in New York, Palais de Tokyo (Paris), and many more.

The CCA’s exhibition of Haze and Fog is supported by the Ostrovsky Family Fund.

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