For the opening night Cao Fei invited The Notorious MSG, a local Chinatown hip hop group, to perform in the gallery on a kitchen stage that she designed for this event.
Hip-Hop is a multi-media installation that includes three videos shot in Guangzhou (China), Fukuoka (Japan) and Chinatown, New York. Cao Fei’s videos are incorporated into three diverse settings that reflect on each locality.
Hip-Hop Guangzhou is projected on a bed sheet hanging on a laundry line amidst towels and underwear; Hip-Hop Chinatown appears on a fallen over Chinese restaurant banquet table surrounded by Chinese steam baskets and kitchen utensils spread out in disarray; Hip-Hop Fukuoka is projected on a Japanese hanging doorway complete with oriental kite fish and printed curtains.
Cao Fei’s videos feature stereotypical characters from each given community: the clerk, the police officer, the prostitute, the restaurant chef, the beggar, the construction worker, the young and old generations of the common people.
In her tongue-in-cheek approach Cao Fei satirizes the norms of social behavior, creating scenarios of hilarious contradictions. They are humorous yet uncannily disturbing. Common people are asked to mimic dance steps in front of the camera, following the rhythm of the upbeat soundtrack. If Hip-Hop is a political language Cao Feiís videos are a public speech. She leaves it up to the viewer to enjoy the complexity of this form of entertainment.
The exhibition continues in the second gallery space where a double-screen video projection is flanked by two life size mannequins dressed in Cao Feiís designed costumes. The projection is a video version of PRD Anti-Heroes Project, an ambitious theatrical production with a cast of 30 non-professional actors, that was presented last November as part of the Guangzhou Triennial.