Cina Rinascita Contemporanea, Palazzo Reale, Milan, December 11, 2009 - February 7, 2010
Cina Rinascita Contemporanea, Palazzo Reale Milano, Il sole 24 Ore Motta Cultura, 2009,
Contemporary Terracotta Warriors Series No. 8
Bronze, edition no. 9/25
57(L) x 47(W) x 184(H) cm
Signed yue minjun in English, titled NO 8, numbered 9/25 and dated 2006
700,000 - 900,000
2,660,000 - 3,420,000
92,100 - 118,400
Yue Minjun is regarded as one of the most influential artists in the Cynical Realist movement that emerged in the early 1990s. Using his own image repeatedly in paintings and sculptures. He started to create the "Contemporary Terracotta Warriors" sculpture series in the year 2000. They represent the artist visual response to over 7,000 robust Qin dynasty terracotta warriors (221-206 BC), one of China's world famous cultural attractions that were discovered in Xian in 1974.
Made out of bronze, the Contemporary Terracotta Warriors are done in larger than life-size, the figures stand squarely upright, looking outwards straight at the viewer with an honest undeniable presence and demeanor. Yue is making a visual parallel with the terracotta warriors buried in the tombs of China's notoriously tyrannical first emperor, Qin Shihuang. While the disproportional large face with closed eyes, the huge mocking grin and dense row of tiny teeth as well as the exaggerated limbs are all symbolic features of Yue's work, suggesting the awkward status of the Chinese language in contemporary society. Yue always uses humor to convey a sense of irony and to express a turbulent period in modern China. Yue's self-portraits have been described by theorist Li Xianting as "a self-ironic response to the spiritual vacuum and folly of modern-day China."
The Contemporary Terracotta Warriors are in set of 25 figures in pete and repeat, displaying in an apex or circle formation. Yue quoted: "When an image is duplicated continuously, the subsequent strength in numbers produces an immense force. Once the image transforms into an idol, I am able to manipulate and utilise the image repeatedly. An idol has a life force; it often influences our lives and regulates our conduct by setting itself as an example. A contemporary society is an idolised society; hence its culture becomes an idolised culture."(Diana Yeh, The Wisdom of Fools). Yue Minjun is using his unique language to criticize the many contradictions that contemporary China faces as it continues to develop in the twenty-first century.