Art enthusiasts have the unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of Yue Minjun through the complete set of his iconic Smile-ism series, currently open for bidding on Artnet. The series, which is a vivid representation of Yue’s self-portraits characterized by a gaping grin, positions him as a forerunner in China’s contemporary Cynical Realism movement. This position is one he shares with notable artists such as Fang Lijun and Liu Wei.
Drawing from the wells of Pop Art and Surrealism, Yue crafts pieces that both challenge and explore modernity, convention, and politics through a lens that is as playful as it is cynical.
The full 28-part Smile-ism series is a journey through Yue’s evocative and often satirical world. It offers a rich tapestry of art that beckons to be explored before the auction closes on September 27. This series stands as a testament to Yue’s remarkable ability to blend humor with deep reflections on society, presenting a collection that is as thought-provoking as it is visually striking.
Earlier this year, Yue ventured into the digital art space with the release of his “Boundless” collection. This debut in the NFT market, launched on the LiveArt platform, saw a series of digital reinterpretations of his renowned “laughing man” imagery, a motif that has become synonymous with his artistic identity. The collection, which comprises 10,000 unique digital assets, was met with overwhelming acclaim, selling out within a mere two hours of its release.
As Yue continues to be one of China’s top global draws, the Smile-ism auction presents a golden opportunity for collectors to own a piece of his legacy. The auction not only offers a chance to appreciate Yue’s deep and playful exploration of modern society but also to invest in a collection that stands at the intersection of humor and critique. It is a rare occasion to get hands-on work from an artist who seamlessly bridges the gap between the physical and digital realms, continually pushing the boundaries of art and its interaction with technology.