Mike Weiss Gallery and ATM gallery are pleased to present Real Fake, an exhibition of new works by Chinese artist Liao Yibai. By collapsing the concepts of “real” and “fake” through mash-ups of luxury labels, the appropriation of real fake brand names, and the creation of his own luxury brands; Yibai with wit and originality questions China’s rags-to-riches story of material obsession through his exquisitely detailed, hand-welded stainless steel sculptures.
In China it is difficult to determine what is real while so many fake brands have assimilated into its culture. Liao Yibai’s exhibition Real Fake exposes this cultural phenomenon and questions the skewed concept of value on a variety of levels. The oversized lavished sculptures of watches, rings, handbags, and high heel shoes confront the multitudes of popular brands and logos and their overwhelming presence in today’s society. Yibai’s newest body of work examines this increasing obsession with opulence and luxury goods while glorifying and laughing at it simultaneously.
Liao Yibai describes some of the symbols used in his sculptures as being, taken from the Chinese “Fake Makers”, who take an image from a magazine, copy the shape and logo, and fabricate it subsequently integrating a new fake into the Chinese market. Brand names are transformed into new products, such as “Hiphone” and “CHIMA.” Yibai explains, “Inspired by that tactic I invent my own hybrids, such as a Real Sprada handbag or a Rolls Phillipe watch.” With “Rolls Phillipe” watch, Yibai references ancient Chinese craftsmen using emblems of clouds and water instead of embellishing the sculpture with faux diamonds and gold as the “Fake Makers” would.
Yibai’s second solo show at Mike Weiss Gallery in New York is met with high expectations. His first show, Imaginary Enemy garnered worldwide press, including full-page articles in the New York Times, ARTnews and Sculpture Magazine among others. Imaginary Enemy illustrated the challenges Yibai faced during childhood amidst a secret missile factory in China during the Cold War era and his paralleled fascination with American Culture. Liao Yibai is currently in the group show, I Love You, alongside the artists Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Barbara Kruger, and Pipilotti Rist at ARoS Aarhus Museum of Modern Art, Denmark. He lives and works in Chongqing, China with his wife and daughter.