Series of litograph that belongs to the "Snatched Ecstasy" collection, a set of 20 lithographs in a brushed aluminum case and produced in a limited edition of 132 rare books. The collection is accompanied by a set of poems by the renowned Poet Fernando Arrabal. Using both the exaggerated expressiveness of cartooning and the stylistic rendering of graphic illustration, Yue depicts his cloned doppelgangers as contorted and grotesque, all scalded pink skin and maniacal toothy cackles.
Yue Minjun's work revolves around his characteristic grinning self-image - a repeated motif throughout his oeuvre. The figures, all based on a generic self-portrait, are each rendered with an inane beaming smile - a cynical grimace that represents the artist's resignation and disdain towards the materialism and spiritual emptiness of contemporary mainland Chinese culture. The figure has more teeth than one could possibly want, like the expensive smiles of fashion models advertising the latest whitening power of a toothpaste brand. This figure also shares the exaggerated nature of these advertising images. Yue Minjun’s trademark smile is many things at once. It is hilarious and infectious yet cynical and mocking. It appears superficial, mindless, even ridiculous but is deeply revealing and compelling. There are instant parallels to be drawn with the Social Realist propaganda posters of earlier eras of communism.
Armed Forces- Litograph on paper, is without doubt one of the most important works in which Yue Minjun uses his laughing self-image as a recurring motif. A group of men clad in identical uniform each wears different headgear. Every man is thus assigned his own distinct role. So the placing of various hats on the figures in this artwork is about highlighting the role of the hat in asserting and reinforcing social differentials, and my sense of the absurdity of the ideas that govern the sociopolitical protocol surrounding hats.
Edition size: 132
Signature: Signed and numbered