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Yue Minjun, Some Day, 2017, oil on canvas, 90 cm × 70 cm (35-7/16" × 27-9/16") © Yue Minjun

Yue Minjun

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b. 1962, Heilongjiang, China

Yue Minjun has been quoted as saying, “I always found laughter irresistible.”

Best known for his oil paintings depicting himself with his trademark smile, Yue Minjun is a leading figure in the Chinese contemporary art scene. He has exhibited widely and is recognized as one of the breakout stars of his generation. In his earlier work, surrealism had an especially strong influence on him. His self-portraits from the 1990s were the first to depict his easy, automatic smile, but the figures’ warmth masked underlying emotions. Yue has also been continuing his Landscape with No One series in which he removes figures from historical Chinese socialist paintings and well-known Western paintings. He states, “Those typical socialist paintings in China looked very realistic but were indeed surreal. They served for heroic fantasies, and the images of great people or the heroes in the paintings could well justify the fabricated scenes.”

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Yue Minjun, The Baptism of Christ, 2010, oil on canvas, 177-3/16" x 118-1/8" (450 cm x 300 cm) © Yue Minjun

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Yue Minjun, Skin No. 8, 2013, acrylic on canvas, 170 cm x 140 cm (66-15/16" x 55-1/8") © Yue Minjun