Cao Fei

Cao Fei


Born in 1978 in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, Cao Fei graduated from Guangzhou Academy of Fine Art in 2001. She lives and works in Beijing.


Cao Fei is one of the most innovative Chinese artists to have emerged on the international scene. She mixes social commentary, popular aesthetics, references to Surrealism, and documentary conventions in her films and installations. Her works reflect on the rapid growth and development of the Chinese society today, and explore perception and reality in places as diverse as a Chinese factory and the virtual world of “Second Life”. Applying strategies of sampling, role play, and documentary filmmaking to capture individuals’ longings and the ways in which they imagine themselves—as hip-hop musicians, costumed characters, or digitized alter egos—Cao Fei reveals the discrepancy between reality and dream, and the discontent and disillusionment of China’s younger generation. Fascinated by the world of "Second Life", Cao Fei has created and designed her own virtual utopia, “RMB City” (2007–11), where she is both participant and observer through her “Second Life” avatar, China Tracy, who acts as a guide, philosopher, and tourist. Cao Fei’s art practices explore the fluidity of a world in which cultures have mixed and diverged in rapid evolution.


Cao Fei’s recent solo exhibition and projects include “Blueprints”, Serpentine Gallery, London, 2020; “Cao Fei: Fú Chá”, National Gallery Singapore, Singapore, 2020; “HX”, Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2019; “Cao Fei”, K21 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf, 2018; “A hollow in a world too full”, Tai Kwun Contemporary, Hong Kong, 2018; “Cao Fei”, MoMA PS1, New York, 2016; ect. Her works have been exhibited at a number of international biennales and triennales, including Shanghai Biennale (2004), Moscow Biennale (2005), Taipei Biennale (2006), the 15th & 17th Biennale of Sydney (2006 and 2010), Istanbul Biennial (2007), Yokohama Triennale (2008), and the 50th, 52nd & 56th Venice Biennale (2003, 2007 and 2015). She was the first Chinese artist to received the BMW Art Car Project.


She was a nominee for the Future Generation Art Prize 2010 and the finalist of Hugo Boss Prize 2010. She received the Chinese Contemporary Art Award (CCAA) Best Young Artist Award in 2006 and Best Artist Award in 2016. She was also the recipient of Piedra de Sal Award at Cuenca Biennale in 2016. 




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