Cao Fei

Meta-mentary

Cao Fei

In "Meta-mentary" we invite you to immerse yourself in an exhibition space transformed by Cao Fei’s cinematic imagery and artistic vocabulary. Cao Fei is internationally recognized as one of the most important representatives of post-digital art. The term “post-digital” was coined in the early 2000s and refers to an art whose theme and critical element is the digital penetration of our everyday lives. Post-digital art originates in the digital and appropriates its structures and characteristics.

Cao Fei was born in Guangzhou, China, in 1978, as the daughter of two artists. She graduated from the local state art academy in 2001. As a child of the Pearl River Delta, she grew up in an area of China that was a center of rapid economic growth and urban development. Pop culture, computer games, consumer electronics and the latest technologies were her youth companions. She has lived and worked in Beijing since 2006. In her films, photographs and walk-in multimedia installations, Cao Fei deals with the economic and societal transformations of living conditions that affect her and all of us. Digitalization, globalization, the transformation of urban and suburban structures and hence our living environments are at the core of her artistic work. Her questions focus on the circumstances that shape our lives as humans, on how we react to the developments around us and adapt to them or actively incorporate them into our lives. Cao Fei’s works illustrate how we as humans cope with the beauty and at the same time the dangers of a technologized, globalized and hyper connected world and the physical and psychological effects it has on us; thereby touching and changing human experience and the perception of self at its core. For her work, the artist herself visits the virtual world using her avatars and she documents her perception and appropriation of virtual realities in a unique visual language creating distinctive artistic spaces. Her works oscillate between melancholy and humor, between utopia and dystopia, between beauty and horror.

Cao Fei’s art has been featured at numerous international exhibitions: Shanghai Biennale 2004, Moscow Biennale 2005, Taipei Biennale 2006, Sydney Biennale 2006 and 2010, Istanbul Biennale 2007, Yokohama Triennale 2008, Venice Biennale 2003, 2007 and 2015. Selected solo exhibitions: MoMA PS1, New York, 2016; Tai Kwun Contemporary, Hong Kong, 2018; K21, Düsseldorf, 2018; Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2019; Serpentine Galleries, London, 2020; UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2021; MAXXI Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, Rome, 2021; Pinacoteca de São Paolo 2023. In 2024 she was awarded the SCAD deFINE ART prize.

Curated by Eva Huttenlauch

Supported by the BMW Group

With generous support of Förderverein Lenbachhaus e.V.

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