Shining a Light on Chinese Workers
Art Business

Shining a Light on Chinese Workers

Bess Adler for The New York Times Her art has sometimes involved creating an avatar of herself, sending robot vacuum cleaners into an urban demolition zone, and capturing the lives of workers in a light bulb factory in the Pearl River Delta region of China. She is Cao Fei, a notable exception among the big names in Chinese contemporary art. She works in multimedia — film, video, virtual reality and installation — and is known for her surreal depictions of the everyday human repercussions of China’s fast-growing, hyper-industrialized economy. That she has risen to prominence at a young age as a woman in her field makes her stand out among women artists across the globe and throughout history, who have often been overlooked, or recognized only belatedly, in a field dominated by men. That distinction is not something that seems to concern her. “I never think about it,” she said in a recent interview. Born in the port city of Guangzhou in 1978, she comes from an artistic family — her mother was one of the few women sculptors of her generation in China, and her father, also a sculptor, made portrait statues of Chinese leaders such as Deng […]

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