In the past twenty years, nothing has been more exciting than China’s urbanization, because it has constantly involved people’s survival trajectories. People left small cities to travel to big cities, then left big cities to return to their locales. The texture of the city has been expanding to the suburbs, when the suburbs and villages turn into cities, when factories become art districts, when art districts become commercial districts… These top-down, earth-shaking changes, no matter how grand or personal, can’t be ignored. They accompany every citizen and are unavoidable because we are part of these stories…

Subjectivity and objectivity coexist—that is, I control the theme in a rational and macroscopic way. But as myself, I will always be engulfed in specific emotions. feelings, and become part of the project. I often think that this is most important, that this kind of strength is not a wanton passion. In every project, I always have a deep state of involvement… After filming, it is often impossible to quickly extricate oneself. — Cao Fei*

Cao’s practice documents China’s extraordinary pace of social and economic change. This week, two of her films will screen at Frieze Los Angeles.


Thursday, February 13, at noon.


Saturday, February 15, from 11 am to 1:30 pm, on a continual loop with BCE, directed by Sophia Al-Maria and Victoria Sin.

Paramount Theater

5555 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles.

*Cao Fei, “Conversation I,” with Susanne Gaensheimer, Kathrin Bessen, and AgnieszkaSkolimowska, in Cao Fei (Düsseldorf: Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen; Munich: Hirmer, 2018), 52–56.

Cao Fei, Haze & Fog (2013) stills (4); Cao Fei, Asia One (2018) stills (3). Images courtesy and © the artist, Cao Fei Studio, and Vitamin Creative Space.

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