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Reflections from Curator Philip TinariCao Fei
Filmed for the occasion of Armory Focus: China at The Armory Show 2014 in New York City, curator Philip Tinari reflects on the work of Chinese artist Cao Fei. Tinari, director of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing and curator of Armory Focus: China, acknowledges the artist as among the first figures of China’s “On/Off Generation,” and discusses how Cao is “an example of how one can be a Chinese artist working in a global context.”
Cao Fei was first featured by Art21 in Season 5 (2009) of the “Art in the Twenty-First Century” series, and has since appeared in episodes of Art21’s “Exclusive” series.
Philip Tinari began a partnership with Art21 in 2009, interviewing artist Cao Fei in Beijing for Season 5 (2009) of the “Art in the Twenty-First Century” series. Tinari would again partner with Art21 to interview artist Ai Weiwei in Beijing for Season 6 (2012).
Armory Focus is a specially curated section of The Armory Show that highlights the artistic landscape of a chosen geographic region. For The Armory Show 2014, Philip Tinari curated Armory Focus: China, shining new light on the country’s contemporary cultural practice.More information and credits
Producer: Eve Moros Ortega. Interview: Eve Moros Ortega. Camera: Rafael Salazar. Sound: Ava Wiland. Editor: Morgan Riles. Artwork Courtesy: Cao Fei. Thanks: Philip Tinari, The Armory Show, Christopher Mao, John Tancock, and Lombard Freid Gallery. Theme Music: Peter Foley. Original Cao Fei segment excerpted from Season 5 (2009) of the Art in the Twenty-First Century series. © Art21, Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.
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Cao Fei’s work reflects the fluidity of a world in which cultures have mixed and diverged in rapid evolution. Her video installations and new media works 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.