Liao Yibai: Supersized Fakes and Cold War Artifacts

Yibai-FCMOA2014May 18 – September 15, 2012

Chinese artist Liao Yibai explores the current surfeit of fake brands in Chinese culture and the artifacts of Chinese Cold War culture in this exhibition drawn from the collection of Dr. Wayne F. Yakes.  In works dating from 2009-2010, the artist’s fascination with consumer culture, as well as his vivid dreams/memories of growing up Cold War China, can be seen in his oversized, gleaming, hand-welded stainless-steel sculptures of missiles, hamburgers, aircraft carriers and cell phones.

Liao’s Supersized Fakes derive from the current Chinese practice of taking images of luxury goods from magazines and then copying the shape and logo and fabricating and introducing and integrating a new fake into the Chinese market.

Large-scale, lavish sculptures of watches (Fake Rolls Phillipe), rings (Fake 1000 Carat Diamond) and shoes (Fake High Heel Channel X) confronts the many popular brands and logos that overwhelm society today. Liao examines our obsession with opulence and luxury goods and forces us to laugh at that obsession at the same time.

Liao’s Cold War Artifacts from the “Imaginary Enemy” series explore the deception and secrecy of his hometown—a top-secret missile factory—where Liao grew up playing with machine guns and watching missile launches.  The artist attempts to reconcile his boyhood life and culture with the fantasy and reality of the United States.  Works like the 330-pound sculpture, “Top Secret Hamburger,” made of 2,600 pieces of welded steel take their place among Missiles, Maps and other artifacts of Cold War China.