For this dynamic and surrealistic series of works, Cao Fei followed people in cosplay communities— groups of people who dress up and roleplay as anime characters—in her hometown of Guangzhou, China. As they embody their characters, creating fantastical imaginaries in the very real, industrializing landscape of Guangzhou, Fei states, cosplayers “expect their costumes will grant them true magical power, enabling the wearer to transcend reality and put themselves above all worldly and mundane concerns.” Like much of the artist’s work, Cosplayers explores how people contend with feelings of alienation and displacement in a rapidly changing urban and social landscape.
From the 2019 exhibition New Landscapes: Contemporary Responses to Globalization, curated by Jessica Hong, Associate Curator of Global Contemporary Art
Cao Fei: Cos Players, Lombard-Freid Fine Arts, New York, March 4 - April 9, 2005
New Landscapes: Contemporary Responses to Globalization, Class of 1967 Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, June 15-August 18, 2019.
Barbara Pollack, "Review: Cao Fei, Cos Players", Time Out New York, March 24-30, 2005
Lombard-Freid Fine Arts, New York, New York, date unknown; private collection; given to present collection, 2018.
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