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Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. Asia Culture Center

Commemorating the 30th Anniversary of Korea–China Diplomatic Relations

Yue Minjun (岳敏君), one of the giants in contemporary Chinese art A re-examination of contemporary Chinese art and the multilayered changes and thoughts captured by Yue Minjun throughout the years under the theme of a grin and from the eyes of our present

Commemorating the 30th Anniversary of Korea–China Diplomatic Relations<br>
<Yue Minjun: Smiling through an Age!>
  • DateMay 13 (Fri) - August 28 (Sun) 2022
  • Time10:00 ~ 18:00
  • PlaceSpace 1
  • Age LimitAll ages
  • Price Adult KRW 15,000 / Teenager KRW 12,000 / Children KRW 9,000
    * For more details, refer to the reservation service
  • TicketTicketlink / Naver Booking / Ticket Booth
  • Contact02-537-0311
  • InformationEarly Bird: May 4 - 12 (50% discount from standard prices)
Introduction
Commemorating the 30th Anniversary of Korea–China Diplomatic Relations
< Yue Minjun: Smiling through an Age! >
Yue Minjun (岳敏君), one of the four kings in contemporary Chinese art,
sublimates the satire and critique into a grin.
A massive exhibition of Yue Minjun’s (岳敏君) work, including new pieces
This exhibition is a re-examination of contemporary Chinese art and the multilayered changes and thoughts captured by Yue Minjun throughout the years under the theme of a grin and from the eyes of our present.

It is one of the biggest exhibitions of the artist’s work in Korea, offering a rare opportunity for the visitors to see not only his sculptures and paintings in person but also his massive bronze works and the latest works that have never been exhibited in Korea.
Structure
01
“A man with the saddest grin in the world”
The figures in Yue Minjun’s work grin as if they are not even aware of their surrounding environment.
They continue to grin, buck-naked,
even as they are massacred in an age where political ideals, social justice, and religious beliefs have all been castrated.
His self-portraits depict an idiotic mass devoid of all character and distinction.
In contrast to the hopeful grace of the people in the paintings made during the Cultural Revolution, Yue Minjun’s “cynical realism” depicts those who are powerless in the face of capital and power: lethargic and powerless generations, with a cynical, self-mocking gaze.
02
"A-Maze-Ing Laughter of Our Times"
““All the figures in my work look like fools.
They all grin, but the grin conceals a lack of freedom and nihilism. Through their appearances,
I depict people who are content to be blissfully thoughtless under the control of others.
They are my ‘self-portraits.’ They are my friends,
and they are, at the same time, a sad self-portrait of this age.”

- Yue Minjun (岳敏君)
03
“An exaltation of death”
Memento Mori, Carpe Diem!
Remember death, love life!
Life and death are like two sides of the same coin.
The duality is with all beings at all times.
The character for death, 死, symbolizes a human holding up broken bones.
Humans live with death on their heads, and life has death as its premise. But that is not to say that everything is meaningless and that one should give up on life.
If one counts from one’s moment of birth, they are at their oldest at this very moment.
But if one counts from one’s moment of death, this moment is when one is at their youngest.
So remember death and live for the moment until the very last moment! Carpe diem!
04
“Slapstick comedy”
“Slap” here is a comedic exaggeration, while “stick” is used by clowns in a theatrical play. Slapstick comedy refers to a comedic play that is chaotic and exaggerated—one that contains critique and satire on society, like those found in the Korean mask dance theater (Talchum). Just like Charlie Chaplin’s works, Yue Minjun’s sculptures are comedic on the surface but tragic up close. The exaggerated expressions and humorous poses betray a deep-seated feeling of isolation and despair, just as the faces of smiling clowns are always marked with teardrops.
"Yue Minjun’s works are full of the will to communicate through their unique expressions and satire.”
- Li Xianting (栗憲庭)
05
“With a single smile, one opens spring (一笑皆春). ”
Bring forth spring with one large grin!
This is a quote from the director of the Gantong Temple in Dali (大理) after seeing the works of Yue Minjun. A single smile bursting forth at a specific moment of our lives spreads through the world like the enlightenment that illuminates the world. Yue Minjun has, on multiple occasions, said that his works are deeply inspired by Taoist philosophy. The philosophy of Taoism, which considers untouched nature as the standard of morality and futility as the origin of the universe, can be read from his works. The wide grin contains futile emptiness, where one has no reason nor things to obsess over.
The Artist
The Artist
Yue Minjun Exhibition
Yue Minjun (岳敏君)
  • Born in Daqing, Heilongjiang, Yue Minjun studied oil painting at Hebei Normal University.
  • After spending some time as a teacher, he moved to Beijing in 1990 and became an artist after the 1989 protests and massacres in Tiananmen Square, which instilled a sense of doubt about the rapid changes taking place in the Chinese society.
  • His “Laughter” series has brought him worldwide fame.
  • His work, Execution, was sold in Sotheby's in London for USD 5.9 million, becoming the most expensive Chinese contemporary artwork ever sold.
  • He took part in the 2004 Gwangju Biennale.
  • At the start of his career, his works mostly focus on oil paintings. Later on, he expanded his medium to include sculptures created through the spatial expansion of two-dimensional work.
“All the figures in my work are like fools. They all grin, but the grin conceals a lack of freedom and nihilism. Through their appearances, I depict people who are content to be blissfully thoughtless under the control of others. They are my ‘self-portraits.’ They are my friends, and they are, at the same time, a sad self-portrait of this age.”
Audio guide
The Voice Ambassador.
The one who shall mediate the “audio exhibition,” the audio guide
Listen to the Voice Ambassador Lee Juk’s narration of the stories behind the works right now.
The audio guide for this exhibition can be accessed free of charge through the NAVER #VIBE app.
Place Info.

ACC Creation, Space 1

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38 Munhwajeondang-ro, Dong-gu, Gwangju 61485, Republic of Korea

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