a) fibreglass, steel
175 x 62 x 125 cm
The works in the Standard Times series reflect Gao Xiaowu’s experiences of a new era of unfettered economic expansion and urbanisation during the late 1990s and early 2000s. The figures represent the newly ambitious and aspirational workers and entrepreneurs of a new free market China, leering and bowing obsequiously. Developed from a series of clay maquettes the artist had made in Xiamen, they were completed in Beijing. The figures are based on his observations of those who had 9 to 5 jobs – they wear the white-collar office worker’s uniform including a tie. He remembers feeling how stultifying it would be to have to follow such a dreary daily routine. The grinning faces recall folk art figures from southern China, but beneath the sardonic humour is a serious intention and a social critique.