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Cao Fei - Utopia

Cao Fei RMB City: A
Second Life City Planning by China Tracey
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Cao Fei RMB City: A Second Life City Planning by China Tracey 2007-9

18 June 2009

Cao Fei


Exhibition Dates: 11 July – 22 August 2009

Opening reception: Friday 10 July

ARTSPACE is pleased to present Utopia, the first solo exhibition of Cao Fei's work in Australasia. She is a fastrising star on the international contemporary art scene. Born in Guangzhou in 1978, she is one of the key figures from a new generation of Chinese artists. Recent projects have seen her build works in Second Life, a vast 3D online world that has operated since 2003. Second Life has a daily turn over worth more than one million US dollars; the twenty million registered users can purchase real estate, set up businesses, and engage in all manner of virtual interactions. In 2007 Cao Fei sold part of her art work/real estate RMB City (2008) on Second Life for $100, 000 to a private art collector.

RMB City was created by Cao Feiʼs online identity China Tracy (with her platinum hair and suit of armour) on the Creative Commons Island of Kula. Named after Chinese money, RMB City shows a perverse view of Beijing—a blend of communism, socialism, and capitalism. Like Beijing itself, it is constantly under construction, candy-striped smoke stacks suggest continuous industrial production and ships move goods swiftly in and out of port. A giant shopping cart, filled with skyscrapers and religious monuments, floats nearby; and Tiananmen Square has been converted into a swimming pool.

Her work is timely and responds to Chinaʼs rapid urbanization and the giddying pace of social and economic development experienced there and ask us to think about the reorganisation of social interactions through online and social networking sites “Cao Fei is the model of the artist as inventor and explorer, who with infinite curiosity acts as a witness of her time.” Says international curator Hans Ulrich Obrist Over the last ten years Cao Fei’s work has been exhibited throughout the world, including in the Venice Biennale. Cao Fei: Utopia is a joint project with the IMA, Brisbane and ARTSPACE, Auckland. It will travel on to TheNewDowse, Hutt City; and Dunedin Public Art Gallery.


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