A small model of a cinema with police officer figures outside.

Cao Fei, La Town, 2014 (production still). Image courtesy Cao Fei and Vitamin Creative Space.

Cao Fei, La Town

Year: 2014
Medium: Single channel video (digital film)
Dimensions: 00:41:56 run time
Brief biography: b. 1978, Guangzhou, China. Lives and works in Beijing.


Cao Fei is one of the most significant young artists to emerge on the international art scene from China. Her multi-media projects explore the lost dreams of the young Chinese generation and their strategies for overcoming and escaping reality.

La Town is the story of a post-apocalyptic metropolis, which is made entirely from the filming of intricate hand-made sets and miniature models. Through the film, Cao Fei explores enduring themes of the everyday, the uncanny and the intimate.

Everyone has heard the myth of La Town. The story first appeared in Europe, but after traveling through a space-time wormhole, reappeared in Asia and Southeast Asia. It was last seen near the ocean bordering the Eurasian tectonic plate, vanishing in its midst as if a mirage. La Town, struck by unknown disaster – where without sunlight, time froze. Polar night was all encompassing, so the few instances of white nights have been momentously recorded in the town’s history. Yet, through the drifting of time and space, various countries have rewritten La Town’s history, and details have been neglected. Now, the story of the small town’s past – love affairs, politics, life, demons and disasters – have all been sealed beneath the museum’s vitrines, the historical “specimens” becoming an authoritative but limited interpretation of this town’s history. – Cao Fei.

La Town has screened at the Lombard Fried Gallery New York (2014) 56th Venice Biennale (2015), State of Concept Gallery in Athens, Greece (2016), and the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art 30th Anniversary exhibition (2016).

La Town was purchased with support form the Art Fund.

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La Town trailer.

Cao Fei’s 2013 film Haze and Fog is also in the University of Salford Art Collection.