The work of the contemporary Chinese artist in the heart of Yerevan, Armenia
Since the year 2012, the Cafesjian Center for the Arts in Armenia, housed in the distinctive “Cascade Complex” in the capital city of Yerevan, has been exhibiting the sculpture of a laughing man (“Untitled,” 20-century, stainless steel, the artist assumably depicted himself) by Yue Minjun (岳敏君, born in 1962), a well-known Chinese artist who became famous for executing human figures in frozen laughter in sculpture, painting, installation, and print.
In 2007, a startling canvas by Minjun was sold at Sotheby’s in London for a record-breaking £2.9 million (US$5.9 million), making it the most expensive Chinese contemporary artwork sold on the secondary market at the time. Over the past two decades, Yue’s disquieting and unrelenting grin has become a ubiquitous presence in the art market.
In his earlier work, surrealism had an especially strong influence on the artist. He was also inspired by the Cynical Realism movement and Geng Jianyi, the pioneering Chinese conceptual artist who also employed his own laughing face as a subject matter for his artworks.