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Yue Minjun (B. 1962)
Starry Night
signed 'yue minjun' in Pinyin; dated '2000' (lower right)
oil on canvas
99 x 59 cm. (39 x 23 1/4 in.)
Painted in 2000
Christie's Hong Kong, 28 May 2006, Lot 452
Acquired from the above auction by the present owner

Lot Essay

Yue Minjun's paintings reflect a satirical response to what he feels as an idolatrous society, one that is easily influenced by images of mass production, whether they be the propagandistic images and spectacles of the Communist era or the mass media images of a consumerist society. He does this through the repetition of his own self-image, putting himself in deliberately absurdist scenarios and always with a cheeky, mad grin, which has become instantly recognizable, turning himself into an idol of his generation.
In Starry Night (Lot 419), an expansive, luminous star-lit evening sky is interrupted by the artist's iconic grinning head. The position of the head demonstrates the artist skillful manipulation of his self-image, utilizing techniques of idolization from imageries of fashion magazines and headshots of Hollywood movies stars. The colour of the stars, moon and his face corresponds with each other, giving the face a spotlight effect, metaphorically aligning himself with the stars above. The use of simple and straightforward brushwork, flat contouring and economy of formal elements imbues Starry Night with an immense visual power.

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