颜磊与洪浩合作的作品：卡塞尔文献展的“邀请函”（1997年）恰好例证了因艺术家们 “自我光环效应”（ascensional vertigo）而导致的沮丧。其灵感来自国际艺术体系的权威机制本身。颜磊与洪浩用一个生造的假名虚构了一个名叫Ielnay Oahgnoh（两位艺术家姓名拼音的倒序）的人，作为第十届卡塞尔文献展虚构单元“来自彼岸——中国前卫主义”的虚拟策展人身份。一位身在德国的朋友帮颜磊与洪浩打印了一百份假造的第十届卡塞尔文献展邀请函（包括文献展的logo与平面图），寄给从未怀疑这些邀请函真实性的艺术家。当然，对文献展的“相信”无可避免地让艺术家沦为这场骗局的牺牲品。
*曾发表于《麻将》希客收藏的中国当代艺术一书 p280，2005年 （原文为英文）
文/箫岭 (Nataline Colonnello)
Poised between attack and defense, detachment and complicity, sarcasm and regard, Yan Lei’s is a “creativity of re-action.” Yan Lei has recently shown an inclination toward works conceived ad hoc in response to a given topic, but his past conceptual provocations concentrated mainly on the power dynamics of the international art world, from a strictly personal point of view. His videos, installations, performances, and paintings reveal a sharp analysis of the real and psychological phenomena, which at once link the artist’s inner space to the outside world, and disengage from it. By subtly playing with the exchange of roles, Yan Lei exerts an aesthetic tension that stresses both the flimsiness and the strength of an existential membrane in which the meaning of value turns out to be nothing but an artery flowing with potentialities. Fully aware of being a player in this game, Yan Lei’s works display the mise-en-scène of life, in which the continuous shift between pretense and reality becomes the key to survival, self-achievement, and eventual acceptance.
Invitation Letter to Documenta Kassel, a work realized in collaboration with Hong Hao, exemplifies the frustration caused by the artists’ “ascensional vertigo,” by which they aspire to a respected position in the international art sys-tem. By combining their inverted names, in 1997 Yan Lei and Hong Hao gave birth to Ielnay Oahgnoh, a fictitious curator of a fabricated section of Documenta X: From the Other Shore – Chinese Avant-Garde. With the help of a friend living in Germany, Yan Lei and Hong Hao printed one-hundred fake invitation letters to Documenta X (which included the show’s logo and the floor plan of a gallery), and posted them to unsuspecting Chinese artists who inevitably fell prey to the hoax.
The consecration (or desecration, as the case may be) of the launching of an artist’s career overseas at the hand of foreign curators, is emphasized in Yan Lei’s Curators (2000), a work depicting a group of weighty personalities from North America and Europe, all known to the artist, who visited China in April 2000 in order to study the local art scene. Based on a picture found in an art magazine, the final monochrome acrylic painting is realized through a digital and pictorial technique that typifies Yan Lei’s production.
Yan Lei was born in 1965 in Lanfang, Hebei Province. In 1982 he graduated from Hebei School for Arts and Crafts, and in 1991 from the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts (now known as the China Academy of Art), Hangzhou City. He lives and works in Beijing and Hong Kong.
by Nataline Colonnello