Cao Fei, Splendid River, Secession 2015, Photo: Oliver Ottenschläger

Cao Fei

Splendid River

July 2 – August 30, 2015

Cao Fei is one of the most outstanding Chinese artists today. Her artistic approach is characterized by a high degree of innovation and her love of experimentation, and her work reflects this in its variety. She produces multimedia installations, videos, and large-format photography. In her most encompassing work to date, RMB City (2008–2011), Cao Fei constructed a complex virtual city full of iconic architect-tures on the Internet platform Second Life as an environment for her avatar China Tracy. The works the artist has conceived for the Secession show a new turn in her oeuvre, integrating sculptural installations and performance elements.

Born in Guangzhou in 1978, Cao Fei belongs to the first generation to grow up in post-communist China. In her work, she explores the condition of this society characterized by rapid transformations of the urban habitat, its fears and lost dreams, its fantasies and strategies to overcome or escape reality, gaming culture being one of these. In so doing, she uses the (stylistic) means of social critique, conventions of documentary film, and the aesthetics of popular culture. Having been raised in a region of booming development, the Pearl River Delta, the artist shows a special interest in new urban centers, whose radical transformation illustrates the contradictions of modern China, and which often serve as a backdrop for her works.


Cao Fei, born in Guangzhou (China) in 1978, lives and works in Beijing.