Gao Yu

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Currently on view at Primo Marella Gallery in Milan, Singing Stars is a solo exhibition dedicated to young Chinese artist Gao Yu. Exhibiting outside of Asia for the first time, Gao Yu introduces us to a series of mixed-media works that represent some of the successful contemporary art from super modern China. 28-year-old Gao Yu exploits a cartoon-like imagery, and thus confirms the challenge brought by animation as an autonomous art form. He draws on ideas and forms from pop and teenage culture, comics, and fiction, offering a vivacious and at the same time bizarre reinterpretation of traditional Chinese icons. The artist’s characters–his favorite apparently being the panda and the lunar rabbit–inhabit a surreal, almost psychedelic place which is rendered through the application of distinct, and often resonant, acrylic colors. The works are indeed playful, vibrant and beautifully cheeky, but sometimes there is also a disturbing and grotesquely sinister halo to the innocent looking cartoon figures. It is precisely this combination of innocence and wickedness that takes the viewers to the realm of Japanese comic and animation–manga and anime–which Gao Yu obviously riffs on. And, as manga and anime inspired works from Japan have affirmed themselves in mainstream contemporary art–with Yoshitomo Nara, “pop art star” Takashi Murakami, but also Kaikai Kiki‘s Chiho Aoshima and Aya Takano among others–Gao Yu has everything he needs to remain a top representative of the Chinese art circuit.

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Born in Guizohou, China, in 1981, and currently living and working in Chongqing, Gao Yu graduated from Sichuan Fine Art Institute in 2003. With Chen Ke, Zhang Hui, Wei Jia, Han Yajuan, and Feng Zhengquan, Gao Yu is one of the most important members of the “cartoon generation”, a group of young artists who debuted with a show titled “A Cartoon Generation”, held in Beijing in 2005, and who are associated with the dynamic contemporary art scene of China.

Singing Stars will be on view at Primo Marella Gallery from April 4th 2009-May 23rd 2009.