Cosplayers  (2004), video still, courtesy of the artist

Cosplayers (2004), video still, courtesy of the artist



2004, video, 8’

This cinematic work is an experiment that employs a surrealistic plot to give COSPLAYERS (young people dressed as video game characters) the ability to traverse the city at will, and to engage in combat within their imaginary world. They expect their costumes to grant them true magical powers, enabling the wearer to transcend reality and put themselves beyond all worldly and mundane concerns.

All COSPLAYERS are very young, with dreams in their heads, spending all their waking hours in the virtual world of video games from a very early age. Hence when they eventually grow up, they discover they are living a life style frowned upon and rejected by society and family members alike. With no channels open to express their feelings and aspirations they resort to escapism and, becoming alienated and out of touch, they turn into ever more unbecoming characters. However, during the time that they become genies, chivalrous knights, fairy princesses, or geeks, the pains of reality are washed away, even if the "real" world they are standing in has not changed to the slightest.



Born 1978 in Guangzhou, lives and works in Beijing

Known for her groundbreaking multimedia installations and videos that fusion real and virtual worlds, social commentary, popular aesthetics and documentary conventions in a surrealistic vein, CAO Fei creates works that are witness to the rapid and chaotic changes occurring in Chinese society today.

Her works have been widely shown at major museums, biennials and triennials around the world: Serpentine Gallery, Tate Modern, New Museum, Guggenheim Museum, MoMA, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Palais de Tokyo, and Centre Pompidou, Shanghai Biennale, Moscow Biennale, Taipei Biennale, Biennale of Sydney, Istanbul Biennale, Yokohama Triennale, Venice Biennale, etc. Her most recent exhibitions include “One Hand Clapping”, a Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Chinese Art Initiative group show at the Guggenheim Museum in New York and a retrospective at K21, in Dusseldorf.

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