Yue Minjun, one of the most important artists of the Chinese avant-garde and one of the key figures of the Cynical Realist movement, was born in 1962 in Daquing in the Heilongjiang Province. Yue's work is influenced by the aftermath and effects of the Cultural Revolution. He has become very well-known internationally for his paintings and sculptures of identical figures with wide grins presented in cynical poses. The repetition of these seemingly comical figures, which are all self-portraits, acts as a metaphor for the dated principles of collectivism and egalitarianism, and comments on the superficiality of modern society and the empty spiritual world of present day China. Yue Minjun, along with other painters from the Cynical Realist movement, uses his art to deconstruct the Cultural Revolution, but does so in a light-hearted and happy manner, mocking or parodying, and ultimately turning everything into a laughing matter. Minjun says that at the very heart of his silly man you can find traces of the philosophy of Lao Zhuang, recounting that "all problems can be resolved with a laugh, and disappear painlessly. In this way one attains an incomparable peace within."