“In this age of consumption, even people become consumable items.”

Born 1972, Miaoming, Guangdong

Chen Fei was born at the tail end of the Cultural Revolution, when farm and factory output was abysmally low and most imports were banned. Today, goods of all kinds are abundant, but he cannot bring himself to celebrate this bounty. A Buddhist, he uses his art to warn people against greed and the lust for more. His Beyond Satisfaction series (2005) depicts fat, babyish blobs, with faces blank except for mouths, stuffed to bursting with gold, jewels, cosmetics and lucky charms. Since the late 1980s, China’s authoritarian rulers have given people only one kind of freedom, Chen Fei believes: to consume. The result has been “a mad chase after worldliness and fortune” that in his view is just another form of enslavement.

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