Liu Fei

b. 1964, China

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Liu Fei, The Last Supper (The Power of fashion #31), 2006
Liu Fei, The Last Supper (The Power of fashion #31), 2006

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The composition of Da Vinci's The Last Supper is appropriated by Liu Fei into a riotous depiction of the new generation of women in China. The most iconic all-male scene in Western history is here transformed by Liu into an all-female gathering. With faces drawn from fashion magazines and popular advertisements, exaggerated smiles with cherry red lips, wearing conventional female student uniforms from the 1920s all in shades of pale grey, Liu's scene could be one of traditional femininity and submission. But these women have shaved heads, and their mechanical smiles with teeth bared and clenched appear menacing. The food on the table has been replaced with a cornucopia of firearms. Rebellious and aggressive, Liu's women seem ready to confront and defy expectations of demure yet sensual femininity promoted by the popular media and fuelled by China's consumerist boom. Their non-conformity could be read as a comment on the repression of personal and political freedom of expression in China.