Another stand out from Art Basel in Hong Kong was the playful showcase by Shangai’s Madein Gallery. The exhibit features a new series of work by Chinese artist Lu Pingyuan called Look! I’m Picasso. The series was inspired by a scene from Pixar’s 1995 film, Toy Story.
The popular toy “Mr. Potato Head” shows up many times throughout Toy Story with his eyes, nose, and mouth to the side, claiming: “Look! I’m Picasso.” This triggered an idea for the artist to paint a series of evidently cubist-based paintings and sculptures in the style of Picasso, while incorporating elements from the facial props of Mr. Potato Head. Through these whimsical pieces, the artist is questioning the line between everyday children’s play and fine art creation process. Created in a painterly manner, but including obvious references to toys and play, the works are aiming to break with conventions and allow the merging between popular and elitist culture. ––Sasha Bogojev