Behind The Smile – Nina P. West

Yue Minjun’s canvas painting “Execution” shone at Sotheby’s in London in October because of its price of $5.9 million. The painting is based on Tiananmen in 1989. From via Forbes:

…Since the early 1990s, Minjun’s works, both paintings and sculpture, have featured figures wearing the same facial expression–a wide, oddly enigmatic smile. The eerie, tongue-in-cheek image is meant to provoke a reaction beyond laughter; it serves as commentary on modern-day China.

The characters seem happy, but are they really? Like Communist propaganda posters that depict workers toiling away in communal bliss, Minjun’s art asks us to consider what lies behind the smile. The artist has said that his subjects are grinning with their eyes closed because he doesn’t want them to see the world around them….[Full Text]

– See also the news video by CNN below:

See also a post from DA Production House about Yue Minjun’s work.

[Photo: Execution – Yue Minjun. Oil on canvas. 1995. Sold at Sotheby’s auction house for nearly $6 million, via Mark Vallen’s “Art For Change”]


Subscribe to CDT


Browsers Unbounded by Lantern

Now, you can combat internet censorship in a new way: by toggling the switch below while browsing China Digital Times, you can provide a secure "bridge" for people who want to freely access information. This open-source project is powered by Lantern, know more about this project.

Google Ads 1

Giving Assistant

Google Ads 2

Anti-censorship Tools

Life Without Walls

Click on the image to download Firefly for circumvention

Open popup

Welcome back!

CDT is a non-profit media site, and we need your support. Your contribution will help us provide more translations, breaking news, and other content you love.