Man sat eating noodles whilst a man is stood at the side of his table playing a harmonica.

Cao Fei, Haze and Fog (production still) 2013. Image courtesy of the artist. © Cao Fei and Vitamin Creative Space.

Cao Fei, Haze and Fog

Year: 2013
Medium: Single channel video (digital film)
Dimensions: 00:46:30 running 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. 

Haze and Fog, by Beijing-based artist and filmmaker Cao Fei, was the first acquisition made by Lindsay Taylor in her role as Art Curator for University of Salford in 2013, and it has since been screened across the world including at Tate Modern, London, Pompidou Centre in Paris, and MoMA New York.  

The film is a zombie movie set in modern-day China and explores the unfulfilled aspirations and lost dreams of contemporary Chinese youth. Rather than present a narrative based on ‘good versus evil’, Fei presents the zombies as those who have lost their traditional ways of life and exist in a state of ‘neutral modernity’, struggling to cope with the pressures of daily, urban, routine. Having migrated to the modern metropolis, the zombies fulfill their roles as cleaners, couriers, security guards and baby sitters, moving through their urban environments without fulfilment or meaningful direction. At first Haze and Fog seems to take a critical stance towards China’s rapid urbanisation as a catalyst for social disintegration. However, Fei’s work moves beyond the specificities of the local, to ask more complex questions about how societies operate according to class-based hierarchies, and what we can do to break free from oppressive systems.   

A video installation showing a woman in a supermarket. The screen is in a basement with speakers at either side and exposed pipes on the ceiling.

Cao Fei, Haze and Fog, 2013. Installation shot at St. George’s Hall, Liverpool. Photograph by Pete Carr.

Cao Fei studied at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in 2001. Recent group exhibitions include: One Hand ClappingSolomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA (4 May – 21 Oct 2018); Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism Architecture VII: Cities Grow in Difference, Nantou Old Town, Shenzhen, China (2018); Simultaneous Eidos – Guangzhou Image Triennial 2017, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China (2018); PRESENCE: A Window into Chinese Contemporary Art, Liverpool, UK (2018); What’s in Store?, Salford Museum and Art Gallery, Salford (2017).

Recent solo exhibition have included CaFei, MoMA PS1, New York, USA (2016); Cao Fei, The Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv, Israel (2016); Cao Fei: La Town – 30 years of CFCCA, CFCCA, Manchester (2016).   

Artist’s website: 

Gallery representing artist: 

 Trailer for Haze and Fog.

Also see Cao Fei,  La Town.

Haze and Fog was co-commissioned by the University of Salford with the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA), in partnership with Eastside Projects (Birmingham), Arnolfini (Bristol), Bath School of Art and Design and Bath University