City Gallery

Exhibition by One of China’s Leading Contemporary Artists at City Gallery

No young artist has a sharper view of the future than Cao Fei.
New York Times

Opening 8 December, City Gallery presents Cao Fei: #18, a video exhibition of work by one of China’s leading contemporary artists.

Cao Fei’s work explores the fluid boundaries between physical and virtual existence. She dragged the art world into the virtual world with RMB City (2007–11), a virtual metropolis built and hosted on the online platform Second Life.

In 2017, Cao Fei was the eighteenth recipient of the BMW Art Car commission (previous recipients include Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Jeff Koons, and Jenny Holzer). Cao Fei is the youngest artist and the first Chinese artist to be awarded the commission, and the first to bring the Art Car into the digital realm. She gives the car a ‘second life’ through uniting ancient spiritual practices with the latest technological advancements, using augmented reality, video, and digital painting.

For this exhibition, City Gallery brings together Unmanned (2017), a six-minute film created as part of Fei’s BMW Art Car project, which follows a monk travelling into a virtual future, where he performs a traditional blessing on the driverless car, and an earlier film work, La Town (2014). La Town offers another fantastical, but more dystopian, vision—this time told through miniature architectural sets and tiny figurines.

‘The films demonstrate Cao Fei’s interests in world building, alternate realities, and artificial intelligence, and with exploring the ever-shifting relationships between humanity, technology, and the city’, says exhibition curator Aaron Lister.

Fei’s recent shows include the group exhibition One Hand Clapping at New York’s Guggenheim Museum and her current survey show at Düsseldorf’s K21.