Yan Pei-Ming

China 1960

Yan Pei-Ming
Yan Pei-Ming
November 13, 2014

Yan Pei-Ming is a Chinese artist born in 1960 in Shanghai. His father worked in an abattoir and his mother in a factory. As he was growing up during the Cultural Revolution, he had to go to propaganda classes at school, in which those who could draw well, did the propaganda drawings for school. Ming was one of them. He draw pictures of Mao Zedong and Red Guards, which he stated in an interview that was really easy for him because it was just a simple copying. He chose to practice art, since his early age, not only because he was good at it, but also because of his stutter, which made him difficult to express himself with words, so he chose a different way of expressing – painting. At the age of eighteen he wanted to study at Shanghai Art and Design Academy but was rejected because of his stutter. In 1980, he went to live with his uncle in Paris, and applied for studies at the National School of Fine Arts in Paris but got rejected again. With a help from his uncle he got a job at Dijon at a restaurant, washing dishes, which he did at night, while during the day he was learning French, at local language school. A year later, he started going to the art school of Dijon, where he spent five years. In 1987 he started doing “epic size” portraits in black and white or white and red. Large amount of his work revolves around the image of Mao. This was because he was already used to paint him, and also because of Mao’s fame, that he used as a strategy for getting noticed as a painter. In 1991, he held his first solo exhibition at the Centre Pompidou. His painting, mostly done in black and white, is a reflection of his pessimistic side, as he says. With his art, he rather reflects the darker side of life, than feelings of happiness and peace. In 2005, after feeling of being forgotten and rejected in China, he returned for his first solo exhibition in Shanghai. In the preface of the exhibition catalogue, he stated that he wanted to be the most recognized and most influential artist in the world. In 2007, he was invited to accompany French president Sarkozy for his trip to China, and although he did not spent much time with him, as he says, he got a chance to meet the head of the Louvre Museum, which eventually lead to his 2009 exhibition in Louvre, The Funeral of Mona Lisa. This was his probably the most provoking exhibition, held in the hall right behind the Mona Lisa, and consisting of a series of huge canvases of a replica of Mona Lisa in the center, and portraits of Ming’s father and the artist himself in a state of death. That year, he also received the medal of Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. Beside paintings of Mao, himself and his father, Ming painted various celebrities, like Bruce Lee, and artist Maurizio Cattelan. In the 1990s he produced large series of portraits of people from the bottom of society, such as prisoners, prostitutes, and homeless children. In his work he also included themes like social and geopolitical conflicts and their consequences. Sudanese Child (2006), is an example of this. Here he depicts suffering under the effects of war, starvation, poverty, and other disasters. Ming made a lot of works like this in which he criticizes modern society.

In 2009, Yan Pei-Ming had solo exhibitions at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, the San Francisco Art Institute, and Louvre. His first solo exhibition in the United States was displayed at David Zwirner in New York, in 2007. Group exhibitions include the Venice Biennale in 1995 and 2003, the Sevilla Biennale in 2006, and the Istanbul Biennial in 2007, among others.

His work is held in various public collections like, the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Honolulu Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Australia, the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, the Museum Ludwig, and the Shanghai Art Museum.

Ming, as the art world and the popular press prefer to call him, is one of the most important figures in contemporary art.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2014Dead and AliveBeijing Center for the Arts, BeijingSolo
2013Help!Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, ParisSolo
2012Painting the HistoryQMA Gallery, Doha, QatarSolo
2012Black PaintingsDavid Zwirner Gallery, New YorkSolo
2012Un jour parfait, Chapelle de l’OratoireMusée des beaux-arts, NantesSolo
2010DestiniesCarlson Gallery, LondonSolo
2009Les Funérailles de Monna Lisa, Salon DenonMusée du Louvre, ParisSolo
2009Yes!San Francisco Art Institute, San FranciscoSolo
2009Landscape of ChildhoodUllens Center for Contemporary Art, BejingSolo
2009The Funerals of Monna Lisa?Palais des Émirats, Abu Dhabi Art, Abou DabiSolo
2008Yan Pei-Ming with Yan Pei-MingGAMeC, BergameSolo
2008Life SouvenirDes Moines Art Center, Des MoinesSolo
2007You Maintain a Sense of Balance in the Midst of Great SuccessDavid Zwirner Gallery, New YorkSolo
2007The Yan Pei-Ming ShowGalleria Massimo De Carlo, MilanSolo
2007Portraits d’artistesFondation Maeght, Saint-Paul-de-VenceSolo
2006ExécutionMusée d’art moderne, Saint-ÉtienneSolo
2005Hommage à mon pèreGuangdong Museum of Art, GuangzhouSolo
2005Inside the Red Window-ConfessionGalleria Massimo De Carlo, MilanSolo
2004Mise à mortGalerie Rodolphe Janssen, BruxellesSolo
2004The Way of the DragonGalerie Anne de Villepoix, ParisSolo
2004Aéroport InternationalParc de la Villette, ParisSolo
2004Portrait Malerei und ZeichnungenNeuer Kunstverein, AschaffenburgSolo
2003Fils du Dragon, Portraits chinoisMusée des beaux-Arts, DijonSolo
2003Fils du Dragon, Portraits de MaoMusée des beaux-arts et d’archéologie, BesançonSolo
2003Fils du Dragon, Dessins intimesMusées d’Art et d’Histoire, GenèveSolo
2002Buddha and his WarriorsGalerie Bernier-Eliades, AthènesSolo
2002Yan Pei-Ming, Benner, Boucher, Bouguereau, …Musée des beaux-arts-Villa Steinbach, MulhouseSolo
2001Chinese Vermilion - In Memory of MaoGalerie Max Hetzler, BerlinSolo
2001VictimesGalerie Art & Public, GenèveSolo
2000AutoportraitsFaggionato Fine Arts, LondonSolo
2000Tête de vertuStudio Massimo De Carlo, MilanSolo
2000Oncle aveugle et homme invisible, FIACGalerie Rodolphe Janssen, BruxellesSolo
2000Selfscape, Kim Sooja & Yan Pei-MingKunsthallen Brandts Klaedefabrik, OdenseSolo
1999Vulnérables...Galerie Liliane & Michel Durand-Dessert, ParisSolo
1999Retour sur lieu du crime - Portrait de familleGalerie Bernier-Eliades, AthènesSolo
1999Le Retable, éloge des métissagesPanthéon, ParisSolo
1998Portraits, Yan Pei-Ming & Seydou KeitaGalerie Jule Kewenig, Frechen-BachemSolo
1998Visible Man Invisible ManGalerie Art & Public, Galerie Charlotte Moser, GenèveSolo
1997La Prisonnière...Musée des beaux-arts, RennesSolo
1997Morts & vifsMusée des beaux-arts, DoleSolo
1997MingFaggionato Fine Arts, LondonSolo
1997Paysage international, lieu du crimeGalerie Rodolphe Janssen, BruxellesSolo
1996Paysage internationalLe Consortium, DijonSolo
1996Faces from Soweto - 21 Portraits of ChildrenMémorial Hector Pietersen, SowetoSolo
1996Portrait d’un inconnuGalerie Liliane & Michel Durand-Dessert, ParisSolo
1995Au bord de l’eau, 108 brigandsFRAC des Pays de la Loire, NantesSolo
1995Le Peintre et ses commanditairesGalerie Rodolphe Janssen, BruxellesSolo
1994Visages PortraitsLe Nouveau Musée, VilleurbanneSolo
1993Yan Pei-MingGalerie Rodolphe Janssen, BruxellesSolo
1991Face à Face, « à partir de son histoire, mon histoire commence »Galerie Anne de Villepoix, ParisSolo
1989La Maison du théMusée Greuze, TournusSolo
2014PharesCentre Pompidou, MetzGroup
2014La Disparition des lucioles, Collection LambertPrison Sainte-Anne, AvignonGroup
2014Les Désastres de la guerre. 1800-2014Musée du Louvre, LensGroup
2013Futur simple, Saison 1FRAC Bourgogne, DijonGroup
2013From Gesture to Language - Trans–Forming Practices of Art ExpressionRockbund Art Museum, ShanghaiGroup
2013Disaster - The End of DaysGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris PantinGroup
2013L’Éternel détour. Le Partage de minuitMamco, GenèveeGroup
2012Chinese ExpressionismHow Art Museum, ShanghaiGroup
2012Through All AgesLong Museum, ShanghaiGroup
2012Electric Fields: Surrealism and Beyond - La Collection du Centre PompidouPower Station of Art, ShanghaiGroup
2012Cartes blanches à Yan Pei-Ming - Pierre BuraglioGalerie des Gobelins, ParisGroup
2012Shanghai ! La tentation de l’OccidentInstitut Culturel Bernard Magrez, BordeauxGroup
2012Extra Large, Œuvres monumentales de la collection du Centre Pompidou à MonacoGrimaldi Forum, MonacoGroup
2011Tracing the Milky WayTang Contemporary Art, BejingGroup
2011Courbet contemporainMusée des Beaux-Arts, DoleGroup
2011Big Brother, L’Artiste face aux tyransPalais des Arts et du Festival, DinardGroup
2010C’est la vie. Vanités de Caravage à Damien HirstMusée Maillol, ParisGroup
2010Portrait de l’artiste en motocyclisteMusée des beaux-arts, La Chaux-de-FondsGroup
2010Les Enfants de MontélimarChâteau des Adhémar, MontélimarGroup
2010Jardin empruntéJardin du Palais-Royal, ParisGroup
2010Hope, une exposition d’art contemporain sur l’espoirPalais des Arts et du Festival, DinardGroup
2010Sajjil: A Century of Modern ArtMathaf, DohaGroup
2010Le Travail de rivièreCredac, Ivry-sur-SeineGroup
2009Qui a peur des artistes ?, Collection François Pinault FoundationPalais des Arts et du Festival, DinardGroup
2009Libertad, Igualdad, FraternidadLa Lonja de Zaragoza, SaragosseGroup
2009Villa apertaVilla Médicis, RomeGroup
2009Du Maoïsme à la Maomania, soixante ans, art et révolutionsLa Maison de la Chine, ParisGroup
2009Collision – Experimental Cases of Contemporary Chinese ArtCAFA Arts Museum, BejingGroup
2009Nouveau Festival du Centre PompidouMusée national d’art moderne - Centre Georges Pompidou, ParisGroup
2009Libertad, Igualdad, FraternidadHuarte Contemporary Art Center, Huarte-NavarraGroup
2008The GalleryDavid Zwirner Gallery, New YorkGroup
2008Other’s WorldMoCA Shanghai, ShanghaiGroup
2008Our Future: The Guy & Myriam Ullens Foundation CollectionUllens Center for Contemporary Arts, BejingGroup
2007Not Only Possible but also Necessary – Optimism in the Age of Global War10th International Istanbul Biennial, IstanbulGroup
2007Yan Pei-Ming, Gu Dexin, Yang JiechangThe Red Mansion Foundation, LondonGroup
2007Size Matters: XXLHudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Peekskill, New YorkGroup
2006La Force de l’artGrand Palais, ParisGroup
2005The Giving PersonPalazzo delle Arti Napoli, NaplesGroup
2005À visages découverts, Le Dix-neufCentre régional d’art contemporain, MontbéliardGroup
2004Dessins et des autresGalerie Anne de Villepoix, ParisGroup
2004« Moi » - Autoportraits du XXe siècleMusée du Luxembourg, ParisGroup
2004À l'Est du Sud de l'OuestVilla Arson, NiceGroup
2004À l'Ouest du Sud de l'EstCentre régional d’art contemporain, SèteGroup
2003New Zone – Chinese ArtZacheta National Gallery of Art, VarsovieGroup
2003SYNOPSIS III – Testimonies between fiction and realityMusée national d’art contemporain, AthènesGroup
2002Babel 2002National Museum of Contemporary Art, SéoulGroup
2002Busan BiennaleBusan Metropolitan Art Museum, BusanGroup
2002French CollectionMamco, GenèveGroup
2002International LandscapeGalerie Rodolphe Janssen, BruxellesGroup
2001I love Dijon, Shigeru Ban - Yan Pei-MingAtelier de l’artiste, DijonGroup
2000Visage-Painting and the Human Face in 20th Century ArtNational Museum of Modern Art, TokyoGroup
2000Man+SpaceKwangju Biennial, KwangjuGroup
2000Continental ShiftMusée d’art moderne, LiègeGroup
2000Partage d’exotismes5ème Biennale de Lyon, LyonGroup
2000Shanghai Biennale 2000Shanghai Art Museum, ShanghaiGroup
2000ÉpiphaniesCentre d’art-Cathédrale d’Évry, ÉvryGroup
2000Bricolage ?Musée des beaux-arts, DijonGroup
1999Contextes différents, Le MagasinCentre national d’art contemporain, GrenobleGroup
1999Kunstwelten im DialogMuseum Ludwig, CologneGroup
1999Le Corps socialÉcole nationale supérieure des beaux-arts, ParisGroup
1998L’Œil et l’espritMuseum of Modern Art, GummaGroup
1998Weather EverythingGalerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, LeipzigGroup
1998GhostsLe Consortium, DijonGroup
1998Tales of ChinaStudio Massimo De Carlo, MilanGroup
1997L’autre4ème Biennale de Lyon, LyonGroup
1997In Between LimitsSonje Museum, KyongjuGroup
1996L’Agression de la beautéGalerie Arndt & Partner, BerlinGroup
1995Identité-Altérité46ème Biennale de Venise, VeniseGroup
1995Unser JahrhundertMusée Ludwig, CologneGroup
1994Villa(s) 5Villa Médicis, RomeGroup
1993China AvantgardeHaus der Kulturen der Welt, BerlinGroup
1993Out of the CentrePorin Taidemuseo, PoriGroup
1991Mouvements 2Musée national d’art moderne - Centre Georges Pompidou, ParisGroup
1991RhizomeGemeentemuseum, La HayeGroup