Cao Fei, Haze and Fog, 2013 Digital video, 46 min 30 sec running time. Commissioned by University of Salford Art Collection and Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (Manchester) in partnership with Eastside Projects (Birmingham), Arnolfini (Bristol), Bath School of Art and Design and Bath University.
Presented as part of The Collectors’ Exhibition | Taking the Leap which celebrates the University of Salford Art Collection, Cao Fei’s Haze and Fog is a new type of zombie movie set in modern China, made by one of the most important Chinese artists working today. Working with film, photography, installation and performance the artist probes her personal and cultural relationship to metropolitan China.
Cao Fei explores the collective consciousness of people living in the time of what she calls “magical metropolises”. The artist focuses on the middle class people who have entered into this new fog of neutral modernity in their house cells, and the community of people created around them as service industries such as cleaners, real estate agents, prostitutes, deliveries, security and baby sitters.
The characters are symbolic of both traditional and modern China. At first it may seem a critical glance at modernized Chinese culture, in nostalgic favour of older wisdom, however it is more a complex use of characters to question our own understanding of right and wrong, progress or tradition.
Text by Gavin Wade, Eastside Projects