Author(s): Claudia Albertini
Chinese contemporary art is currently enjoying a worldwide boom, fetching record-breaking prices at auction houses around the globe. The countrys rapid transition from Communism to consumerism, and the dizzying changes brought about by urbanization, globalization and new technologies have created a fascinating explosion of art overwhelmingly concerned with the search for self-identity in a society that, from Confucius to Mao, has traditionally disregarded individualism for the collective good. Avatars and Antiheroes reflects the schizophrenic undercurrents of a nation in continuous fast-forward. From the Cynical Realism and Political Pop movements associated with the post-Tiananmen generation of artists such as Yue Minjun, whose grinning representations of himself as antihero seem to mock the revolutionary heroes of old, to the pop-culture generation spearheaded by Cao Fei, whose digital avatars live in a world without borders, this book showcases the work of the most important contemporary artists to emerge from China in recent years. Stunning full-color plates of the work of Chinas leading painters, photographers, sculptors, performance artists, video artists, and even a fireworks artist are complemented by insightful commentary from Beijing-based art specialist Claudia Albertini, who personally interviewed many of the artists featured.