Liao Yibai’s third exhibit at Mike Weiss Gallery, “Made in China” is a collection of twenty-two stainless steel sculptures divided into three sections: Fake Antiques, Fake Evidence, and Legends. The series pokes fun at China’s history of power struggles, misinformation and attempts to re-write its own past. Each piece is hand-welded and placed upon a pseudo-antique pedestal, claiming a position of authenticity that alludes to the thriving fake antique industry in China.
Many of the works are replications of vases and heirlooms dating back to the Ming, Qing and Yuan dynasties. Yibai then gives them a clever modern twist by adding details like nuclear clouds, swine flu viruses and acid rain.
One of the pieces, Chairman’s Chair, is a large throne pierced with arrows and supposedly represents “the artist’s wry summation of 5,000 years of China’s history and its constant struggle for power.”
Surprisingly enough, the artist lives and works in Chongqing, China and exhibits his work freely. By cleverly inserting subtle imagery into his sculptures, he manages to get away with subversive commentary usually completely absent in China. And he didn’t even have to “fuck your mother.” “Made in China,” Liao Yibai, Oct 18 – Nov 24, Mike Weiss Gallery, New York (Photos: Mike Weiss Gallery)