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Cao Fei

Cao Fei 03 Cao Fei

Cao Fei

Cao Fei (b. 1978) is a Chinese artist based in Beijing. She is known for her multimedia installations and videos, and is acknowledged as one of the key artists of a new generation emerging from Mainland China. She mixes social commentary, popular aesthetics, references to Surrealism, and documentary conventions in her films and installations. Her works reflect on the rapid and chaotic changes that are occurring in Chinese society today. Her recent project RMB CITY (2008-2011) has been exhibited in Deutsche Guggenheim (2010), Shiseido Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (2009), Serpentine Gallery, London (2008), Yokohama Triennale (2008). I. Mirror by China Tracy, 52nd Venice Biennale (2007), Chinese Pavilion; RMB CITY- A Second Life City Planning has been exhibited in Istanbul Biennale (2007); Whose Utopia, TATE Liverpool (2007), Nu Project, Lyon Biennale (2007). Cao Fei also participated in 17th & 15th Biennale of Sydney (2006/2010), Moscow Biennale (2005), Shanghai Biennale (2004), 50th Venice Biennale (2003). She also exhibited video works in Guggenheim Museum (New York), the International Center of Photography (New York), MoMA (New York), P.S.1 (New York), Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Musee d'Art Moderne de la ville de Paris (Paris), Mori Art Museum (Tokyo). And Cao Fei is the finalist of Hugo Boss Prize 2010, and won The 2006 Best Young Artist Award by CCAA (Chinese Contemporary Art Award ).


Cao Fei stood in front of the introduction to her work "RMB City" Cao Fei stood in front of the introduction to her work "RMB City", Photo by Qi Rujie

Cao Fei stood in front of the introduction to her work "RMB City", Photo by Qi Rujie

About Cao Fei

Born 1978, Guangzhou, China

Lives and works in Beijing, China


2001 Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts

1997 The Affiliated Middle School of Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts


Finalist, 2010 Future Generation Art Prize, Pinchuk Art Centre, Kiev, Ukraine

Finalist, 2010 Hugo Boss Prize, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York (Announced October 2009)

Best Young Artist, 2006, CCAA’s Prize, Chinese Contemporary Art Awards, Beijing, China

Solo Exhibitions


Cao Fei: Simulus, Surrey Art Gallery, Vancouver Canada


Play Time, Lombard-Freid, New York, USA

RMB City Opera, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO, USA

Cao Fei, Live in RMB City, 2010 Cao Fei, "Live in RMB City", 2010

Cao Fei, "Live in RMB City", 2010


RMB City, A Space Gallery + Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival, Toronto, Canada

RMB City Opera Live Performance Tour, Culturescapes 2010, Basel, Bern, Switzerland

Cao Fei: RMB City, CrossFade Lounge, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA

Cao Fei: Utopia, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Dunedin, New Zealand


Art 21: Art in the Twenty-First Century, Fantasy: Cao Fei, Season 5 on PBS

NO LAB on Tour, Savannah College of Art and Design Lacoste Campus, Lacoste, France

Cao Fei: Live in RMB City, Shiseido Gallery Solo Exhibition, Tokyo, Japan

Utopia, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia

Cao Fei: Utopia, Artspace, Aukland, New Zealand

RMB City Opera (world premiere performance) Artissima Art Fair 2009, Torino, Italy

Cao Fei: RMB City, Serpentine Gallery, London, England

NO LAB on Tour1, Galerie Pfriem du SCAD, Lacoste, France


RMB City, Lombard-Freid Projects, New York, USA

Cao Fei, Le Plateau, Paris, France

Cao Fei : RMB City, Serpentine Gallery, (2008-09), London, UK

Cao Fei, Kunsthalle Nürnberg, Nürnberg, Germany


Cao Fei: Whose Utopia? , Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA, USA

Whose Utopia, CCA Kitakyushu, Kitakyushu, Japan

Cao Fei, Whose Utopia

Cao Fei, Whose Utopia


PRD Anti-Heroes, Museum Het Domein, Sittard, The Netherlands

Hip Hop, Lombard-Freid Projects, New York

SIEMENS Art Project 2006: What Are You Doing Here?, Fu Shan OSRAM factory, Guangzhou, China

COSPlayers, Para Site Art Space, Hong Kong


COSPlayers, Lombard-Freid Fine Arts, New York, USA

COSPlayers, Courtyard Gallery, Beijing, China

Cao Fei, Diversionist, 2004; C-print, 75X100cm Cao Fei, "Diversionist", 2004; C-print, 75×100cm

Cao Fei, "Diversionist", 2004; C-print, 75×100cm


The San Yuan Li Project, Courtyard Gallery, Beijing, China

Selected Group Exhibitions


Cao Fei - The Orchid Pavilion, Wide Open School, London Hayward Gallery, UK

Cao Fei - Hip Hop New York, Lombard-freid Projects, ArtHK12, Hong Kong

THAT FRESH SENSATION, Image Forum festival 2012, Japan

60-minute Cinema, Chinese Arts Centre, Manchester,UK

Megacool 4.0. Youth and Art, k/haus Vienna, Austria

Asian Women Artists, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan

RMB City Opera, TRACK @S.M.A.K, Ghent, Belgium

Cao Fei's Shadow Life, 41st International Film Festival Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Game On / Re-Newing Media Art: A Touring Initiative, Ireland

SHOW TIME: Choreography in Contemporary Art, Denmark

Experimenta-Utopia Now, Albury Library Museum, Albury, Wales, Australia

One World Exposition, Videotage, Hong Kong

Cao Fei, Back to the Garden, 2011; C-print, 90X120cm Cao Fei, "Back to the Garden", 2011; C-print, 90×120cm

Cao Fei, "Back to the Garden", 2011; C-print, 90×120cm


Cao Fei's Shadow Life, Arthouse at the Jones Center, Austin, Texas, USA

Once Upon A Time: Fantastic Narratives in Contemporary Videos, Deutsche Guggenheim, Germany

Moving Image in China 1988-2011, Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, China

Spectrum: Chinese Independent Animation, Contemporary Arts Center, ChengDu, China

China Independent Film Festival, Nanjing, China

Community without Propinquity, MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, UK

Terra Incognita, 2011 Incheon Women Artists’ Biennale, Seoul, Korea

3rd Yebisu International Festival, Tokyo, Japan

Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal, Montreal, Canada

BodyTalks-Video Art & Cinedans in Public Space, Maastricht, Holland

Dream-WhiteLight, Samsung Media Art Exhibition, Daegu, Korea

Double Democracy Exhibition, Art Gwangju:11, Korea

Apocalypse Tomorrow: Surf in RMB City, Art Basel 42, Switzerland

Future Generation Art Prize, ILLUMInations - 54th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia 2011, Venice, Italy

Daydream Believer!!, Yebisu International Festival for Art&Alternative Visions, Tokyo, Japan

Video from the New China, Getty Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA

NO LAB on Tour #4 at SCAD Gallery, Hong Kong

Watch Me Move: The Animation Show, Barbican Art Gallery, London

Alter Scrinium, Vladivostok International Film Festival, Russia

i.City, Digital Art Center, Taipei, China

Eye of The Dream -Video Art From China, Customs House of Sydney Harbour, Australia

The Way it Wasn't, Culturgest, Porto, Portugal

INDUSTRIAL 2012-2013, Hartware MedienKunstVerein at the Dortmunder U,Dortmund, Germany

Happy Tech. Macchine dal Volto Umano, Arte e Scienza in Piazza 2011, Bologna, Milano, Italy

The Coming Community, Haifa Museum of Art. Haifa, Israel

Real Virtuality, Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria, New York


Ai Weiwei and Cao Fei Ai Weiwei and Cao Fei

Ai Weiwei and Cao Fei


Future Generation Art Prize 2010, PinchukArtCentre, Kiev, Ukraine

i.Mirror becomes part of the Media and Performance Art Collection, MoMA PS1, New York, USA

32nd Edition of Festival des 3 Continents, Nantes, France

CHINA POWER STATION, Contemporary Chinese Art from the Astrub Fearnley Collection, Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli, Turin, Italy

Cao Fei: Room 608, Frieze Art Fair 2010, London, UK

RMB City, 29th Bienal se Sao Paulo 2010, Brazil

Art 41 Basel, Switzerland

Roundtrip: Beijing-New York Now -Selections from the Domus Collection, UCCA, Beijing, China

The Beauty of Distance: Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age, 17th Sidney Biennale, Sidney, AU

Liminality: A Mixed Reality Exhibition of Second Life Art, Antena, Chicago, USA

Timelapse, CentrePasquArt, Biel, Switzerland

I Shot The Sheriff (Héroes y Villanos-Open Studio 4.0, Carlos Garaicoa Open Studio 4.0, Madrid, Spain

The Beauty of Distance: Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age : The 17th Biennale of Sydney, AU

EVERYDAY(S), Casino Luxembourg-Forum d’art contemporain, Luxembourg

Contemplating the Void, Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA

Utopia Matters: From Brotherhoods to Bauhaus, Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, Germany

CUE: Artists Videos – January 23 to March 21, 2010’, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada

Spatial City: An Architecture of Idealism, touring exhibition: Inova, Milwaukee; Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit, USA

Cao Fei and Yoko Ono Lennon

Cao Fei and Yoko Ono Lennon


NO LAB on Tour, ACA Gallery of the Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD), Atlanta

 2009, USA

Reversed Images: representations of Shanghai and Its Contemporary Material Culture, MoCP Museum of Contemporary Photography, Shanghai, China

Space Invaders: Art in the Computer Game Environment, FACT, Liverpool, UK

Dress Codes: The Third ICP Triennial of Photography and Video, International Center of Photography, New York, USA

Chinese Art Generation, Breaking Forecast, 8 key Figures of China’s New Generation Artists, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), Beijing, China

Timelapse, National Art Museum of China (NAMOC), Beijing, China

The Girl Effect, Lombard-Freid Projects, New York, USA

The Generational: Younger Than Jesus, The New Museum, New York, USA

Utopics, 11th Swiss Sculpture Exhibition, Biel/Bienne, Switzerland

Cao Fei Utopia, Artspace, Auckland, New Zealand

The Storyteller, iCI travelling exhibition- Salina Art Museum, KansasThe ‘The Girl Effect’, Lombard-Freid Projects, New York, USA

There Goes the Neighborhood, MOCA Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

The World is Yours, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark

Video Art: Replay, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Louis Vuitton: A Passion for Creation, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong

Double Take, the Anne Landa Award for Video and New Media Arts, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Australia

Alternate Realities, Spencer Museum of Art Lawrence, Kansas, USA

HBOX, Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA), Newport Beach, USA

Perfromatik 09, Kaaitheatre festival, Brussels, Belgium

NO LAB in RMB City Prospect 1. New Orleans Biennial, USA

Cao Fei, "RMB CITY: A Second Life City Planning 05", 2009; Digital print, 120X160cm Cao Fei, "RMB CITY: A Second Life City Planning 05", 2009; Digital print, 120×160cm

Cao Fei, "RMB CITY: A Second Life City Planning 05", 2009; Digital print, 120×160cm


The Possibility of an Island, MOCA at Goldman Warehouse, Miami, FL

Sprout from White Nights, Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden

The Hong Kong & Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism / Architecture, Shenzhen, China & Hong Kong SAR, China

Our Future Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China

Far West Arnolfini, Bristol, UK

Prospect.1 New Orleans, Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, LA, USA

Frieze Art Fair 2008, London, UK

Yokohama Triennale 2008, Tokyo, Japan

Life on Mars, 55th International Carnegie International, Pittsburg, PA, USA

Panoramica-ciclo, Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico

Montage: Unmonumental Online, The New Museum, New York, USA

ART IS FOR THE SPIRIT: Works from The UBS Art Collection, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan


Art Basel Miami Beach 2007, USA

10th International Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, Turkey

52nd International Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy

Brave New Worlds, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN

China Power Station: Part II, Astrup Fearley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, Norway

Playback, ARC / Musee d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France

Everyday Miracles, 52nd Venice Biennale, Chinese Pavilion, Venice, Italy

Infiltration and Sound(e)scape, Senda-Espai 2nou2, Barcelona, Spain

Laughing In A Foreign Language, The Hayward Gallery, London, England

Lyon Biennial, Lyon, France

Moving Targets: Business As Usual/ New Video from China/ Cao Fei and Yang Fudong, Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe, AZ, USA

RED HOT- Asian Art from the Chaney Family Collection, Houston, TX, USA

The Real Thing, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, UK

World Factory: Resistance and Dreams, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA, USA

Cao Fei, Utopia Factory, 2006

Cao Fei, Utopia Factory, 2006


China Power Station: Part 1, Battersea Power Station, Serpentine Gallery, London, UK

Panoramica- Ciclo de video: Mascaradas: disfraces, espejos, mascaras, Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporaneo, Bosque de Chapultepec, Mexico

Totalstadt. Bejing Case, ZKM/Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany

New Photographers 2007, Cannes Lions Festival, Cannes, France

Singapore Biennale, Singapore

Empire and back, Westfaelischer Kunstverein, Muenster, Germany

China Contemporary Exhibition, Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, Gaermany

People, Land, State, The Israeli Center for Digital Art, Holon, Israel

Japanimation, Tokyo Gallery, Beijing, China

Guangzhou: Cantonese Artists in the Sigg Collection, Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland

AllLookSame?, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy

Busan Biennale, Busan, Korea

2006 Taipei Biennial, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan

Guangzhou, Kunstmuseum Bern, Bern, Switzerland

Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany

Territory, Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver, Canada

Political Equator, University of California, San Diego, CA; Tijuana, Mexico

Good Vibrations-le Arti visive e il Rock, Palazzo delle Papesse Centro Arte Contemporanea, Sienna, Italy

The Thirteen: Chinese Video Now, PS1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, USA

Joy, Casino Luxembourg, Luxembourg

15th Sydney Biennale, Sydney, Australia

Beijing Case: Culture of the High Speed Urbanism, The Center for Art and Median(ZKM), Karlsruhe, Germany

Never Go Out Without My DV cam - Video Art from China, Museo Colecciones ICO, Madrid, Spain

Fantasy Landscapes, Asia House, London, UK

Festival of Love: Video Art Series, Asia Society, New York, USA

Astrup Fearnley Collection: Photo and Video, Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo, Norway

Cao Fei, "Hello! Kitty", 2005; C-print, 90X120cm Cao Fei, "Hello! Kitty", 2005; C-print, 90×120cm

Cao Fei, "Hello! Kitty", 2005; C-print, 90×120cm


Irreality, Para Site, Hong Kong,China

Zooming into Focus: Chinese Contemporary Photography from the Haudenschild Collection, NAMOC National Art Museum Of China, Beijing, China

Mahjong, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany

Exchange Value of Pleasure, Busan Museum of Modern Art, Busan, Korea

Art Basel Miami Beach Art Video Lounge: A Kind of a Portraiture Program, Miami, FL

Sweet Taboos, 3rd Tirana Biennale, Tirana, Albania

We Are the World, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Riena Sofia, Madrid, Spain

I still believe in miracles, Part II, Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France

Trouble with Fantasy, Kunsthalle Nürnberg, Nürnberg, Germany

Out of Sight, De Appel Foundation, Amsterdam, The Neatherlands

Get It Louder, Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, China

Unspeakable Happiness, Tamayo Museum of Contemporary Art, Mexico City, Mexico

Women by Women IN PHOTOGRAPHY part two, Cook Fine Art, New York, USA

CIRCULAR-domas, 2005 Milan Furniture Fair, Milan, Italy

Parallel Realities: Asian Art Now, The 3rd Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale, Fukuoka, Japan

Follow Me!: Contemporary Chinese Art at the Threshold of the Millennium, Mori Museum, Tokyo, Japan

Emergency Biennale in Chechnya: A suitcase from Paris to Grosny, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France

Borders in Asia, World Social Forum, Porte Alegro, Brazil

Dialectics of Hope, 1 Moscow Biennial, Moscow, Russia

Cao Fei, "HiJacking", 2004; C-print, 75X100cm Cao Fei, "HiJacking", 2004; C-print, 75×100cm

Cao Fei, "HiJacking", 2004; C-print, 75×100cm


Do It, Art Basel Miami Beach, Miami, Florida, USA

Taiwan International Documentary Festival, Taiwan, China

Nuit Blanche, Art Public Contemporain, Paris, France

Impakt Festival, Netherlands

Past in Reverse: Contemporary Art of East Asia, San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, CA, USA

Die Chinesen: Contemporary Photography and Video in China, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany

5th Shanghai Biennial, Shanghai Museum of Art, Shanghai, China

China Moon, Watermill Center, Watermill, New York, USA

A l'Est du Sud de l'Ouest, Centre National d'Art Contemporain, Villa Arson Nice, France

Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video From China, ICP and Asia Society, New York, USA

Tatig Sein, Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst e.V. (NGBK), Berlin, Germany

China Now, Gramercy Theatre, Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA

Chine: Generation Video, Maison Européenne de la Photogrqaphie, Paris, France

Out the Window: Spaces of Distraction, The Japan Foundation Asia Center, Tokyo, Japan

Heads & Portraits, Produzentengalerie, Hamburg, Germany

Feverish Unconscious, Chambers Fine Art, New York, USA

Generation Video, Maison Europeenne de la Photographie, Paris, France

Out the Window: Spaces of Distraction, Japan Foundation, Tokyo, Japan Darling Art Foundation, Seoul, South Korea


Left Wing, Left Bank Community, Beijing, China

Screening Programme: San Yuan Li Project, MK2 (Bibliothèque), Paris, France

Fabricated Paradises, Le Parvis centre d'art contemporain, Ibos, France

10th Biennial of the Moving Image, Geneva, Switzerland

Zooming into Focus: Chinese Contemporary Photography from the Haudenschild Collection, San Diego State University & San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, CA, USA

Public Space and Personal Eyes, Kampnagel, Hamburg, Germany

Alors la Chine?, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France

Z.O.U. (Zone of Urgency), 50th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy

+system, Short Videos from the World 2002-2003, BizArt, Shanghai, China

The Minority Is Subordinate to the Majority, BizArt, Shanghai, China

Cao Fei, Unattainable Love, 2002; C-print Cao Fei, "Unattainable Love", 2002; C-print

Cao Fei, "Unattainable Love", 2002; C-print


In/Video, Milan. Italy

Kino Film Festival, Manchester, UK

Reinterpretation: A Decade of Experimental Chinese Art – The 1st Guangzhou Triennale, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China

Media City Seoul The 2nd Seoul International Media Art Biennale, Seoul, South Korea

Pause: The 4th Gwangju Biennale 2002, Gwangju, South Korea

Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival, France

Making China, Ethan Cohen Fine Arts, New York, USA


Weightlessness, Galerie Volker Diehl, Berlin, Germany

The New Media Art Festival: Non-linear Narrative, National Academy of Art, Hangzhou, China

Living in Time: 29 Contemporary Artists from China, Hamburger Bahnhof Contemporary Art Museum, Berlin, Germany

City Slang, Art Village, Hong Kong, Japan

The 2nd Berlin Biennial for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany

Take Part, Galerie Urs Meile, Luzern, Switzerland

Virtual Future, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China


Fuck Off: Uncooperative Approach, Eastlink Gallery, Shanghai, China

Pusan International Contemporary Art Festival: Leaving the Island, Pusan, South Korea

PhotoEspana 2000, Madrid, Spain


8th Biennial of Moving Images, Saint-Gervais Geneva, Switzerland

4th Cross-Strait, Hong Kong and Macau Student Film & Video Festival, Hong Kong, Japan

Video screening, Galerie Büro Friedrich, Berlin, Germany

Fellowship Program


Beijing Case: Culture of the High Speed Urbanism, German Federal Cultural Foundation (Kulturstiftung des Bundes), Germany

Courtesy of Cao Fei, for further information please visit or Cao Fei's Blog.