In celebration of the forthcoming fifth season of Art:21—Art in the Twenty-First Century, broadcasting this October on PBS, each week we bring you a video clip from a featured artist’s segment. Up next is artist Cao Fei. Read a detailed explanation of Fei’s work back on Art21’s blog here.
Cao Fei’s video installations and new media works explore our collective desire for mythical reinvention and question the differences between perception and reality in places as diverse as a Chinese factory and the virtual world of Second Life. “Everything is much more intense than the real world. It’s more compressed and dense with more colorful tints and shades compared to the balance in real life. It’s much more unbridled and wild,” she notes.
This video is excerpted from the Season 5 episode Fantasy, premiering on Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 10pm (ET) on PBS (check local listings). Fantasy features four artists —Fei, Mary Heilmann, Jeff Koons, and Florian Maier-Aichen — whose art defies convention and transports us to unreal worlds and altered states of consciousness. With works at times hallucinatory, irreverent, and sublime, each of these artists pursues a vision first held in the mind’s eye, inventing and re-imagining along the way.