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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cao Fei

Cao Fei - UN-Cosplayers, 2006
(published in Artkrush by courtesy of Cao Fei's Blog)

Cao Fei (b. 1978 Guangzhou, China, lives in Beijing), a video artist, theatre director, photograph, writer and blogger, has become a notable presence at contemporary art events around the world: New York at MoMA, Paris at Centre Pompidou, Minneapolis at the Walker Art Center, biennials at Singapore, Sydney, Moscow, to name but a few.

The cosplayers that inundate her videos and photographs play a double role: they are the heroes of an alternate universe Cao Fei is proposing to us (the Second Life, to use her definition), while also youngsters from nowadays's China emphasizing that a new generation has come and world is now different.

So, what are cosplayers, anyway? People dressed like manga heroes, and performing that way anywhere but on the stage: it's Performance Art. They are not playing in roles, they are rather emphasizing roles; they are not playing fictional characters, they are simply emulating the appearance of these fictional characters. You will ask me now what manga means? It's the Japanese term for comics, and cosplayers don't emulate only manga characters, but also manhwa personages, and so on.

Well, as I said the cosplayers of Cao Fei play a double role: they invite us to imagine an alternate universe and they tell us that maybe this Second Life has come: Cao Fei's works demonstrate that Performance Art is but another form of Conceptual Art.

I will come back to Cao Fei and her cosplayers soon.

(Contemporary Art)

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