i.Mirror by China Tracy (AKA: Cao Fei), Second Life Documentary Film, 2007
Cao Fei. My Future is not a Dream Selected Works from the Collection
September 10, 2021–January 9, 2022
Espace Louis Vuitton München
80539 Munich Germany
Hours: Monday–Friday 12–7pm,
On the occasion of its new exhibition within the framework of the Fondation Louis Vuitton “Hors-les-murs” programme, the Espace Louis Vuitton München presents My Future is not a Dream, a selection of Cao Fei’s works from the Collection. This exhibition carries out the Foundation’s mission to showcase holdings of the Collection to an international audience at the Espaces Louis Vuitton in Tokyo, Munich, Venice, Beijing, Seoul and Osaka.
Born in 1978 in Guangzhou by the Pearl River Delta in China, Cao Fei has made a name for herself with her multimedia installations and videos. She takes inspiration from popular and traditional sources (the cinema, advertisements, manga, and theatre) to explore the relationship between real life, the collective utopia, and the personal aspirations of a younger generation immersed in a new urban culture marked by an industrial and commercial boom and Internet exposure. The economic dynamics of her native region, and its proximity to Hong Kong and Taiwan, gave rise to a generation with a decidedly modern lifestyle. A recurrent theme of her work since Imbalance 257 (1999), Cao Fei captures a world inhabited by her friends, subjugated by entertainment, consumption and television, where adolescents disguise themselves as manga or video game characters to play out a fictional life. Presented here, Whose Utopia (2006), which mixes documentary elements with fiction, explores the contrast between the real life of the workers at a factory and their dreams and aspirations.
Cao Fei, Whose Utopia (2006), video, projection, colour and sound (stereo), 19' 58"
Fascinated by the internet’s endless possibilities, Cao Fei began in 2007 to experiment with the virtual world of Second Life, the 3D-based user-generated content platform created in 2003. There she designed a virtual city (RMB CITY: A Second Life City Planning, 2007) where she settled her own avatar, China Tracy (Live in RMB City, 2009). The spaces she developed mingle some typical symbols of the Chinese culture (bicycles, pandas, a Mao bust etc.) with an unbridled proliferation of international characteristic everyday objects and architecture in an unrelenting flow of traffic, portraying the past, present and future of a community undergoing major change, in a country at the mercy of uncompromising modernization. Isolation, the division of the classes, and the projected decline of international capitalism are key subjects of Cao Fei’s work, which continuously draws on a wide variety of sources from both Western and Eastern worlds.
Cao Fei, RMB City: A Second Life City Planning by China Tracy (aka: Cao Fei), Color video, with sound, 6 min.
The three works presented here, which belong to the Collection, were displayed at Fondation Louis Vuitton in 2016 for the exhibition Bentu. Chinese Artists in a time of turbulence and transformation.
About the Fondation Louis Vuitton
The Fondation Louis Vuitton serves the public interest and is exclusively dedicated to contemporary art and artists, as well as 20th-century works to which their inspirations can be traced. The Collection and the exhibitions it organises seek to engage a broad public. The magnificent building created by the Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, and already recognized as an emblematic example of the 21st-century architecture, constitutes the Foundation’s seminal artistic statement. Since its opening in October 2014, the Fondation has welcomed more than six million visitors from France and around the world. The Fondation Louis Vuitton commits to engage in international initiatives, both at the Fondation and in partnership with public and private institutions, including other foundations and museums such as the Pushkin Museum in Moscow and the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg (Icons of Modern Art: The Shchukin Collection in 2016 and The Morozov Collection in 2021), the MoMA in New York (Being Modern: MoMA in Paris), and the Courtauld Gallery in London (The Courtauld Collection. A Vision for Impressionism) among others. The artistic direction also developed a specific “Hors-les-murs” programme taking place within the Espaces Louis Vuitton in Tokyo, Munich, Venice, Beijing, Seoul and Osaka, which are exclusively devoted to exhibitions of works from the Collection. These exhibitions are open to the public free of charge and promoted through specific cultural communication.