A Yue Minjun Installation Was on Last Night’s ‘X-Files’

The X-Files, 2018, still from television show.


The truth is out there, but apparently, so too is a Yue Minjun installation.

Minjun’s 2009 installation A-maze-ing Laughter figured prominently on last night’s episode of The X-Files, in which Mulder chats with a conspiracy theorist—or is he a doctor working for the U.S. government?—underneath the Chinese artist’s work. Minjun’s “laughing man” characters tower over them—an appropriate touch, given that the artist’s smiley figures are intended to mock Soviet Realist imagery distributed by the Chinese government.

Keen viewers will note that the work was first produced for the 2009–11 Vancouver Biennale, and that it is currently installed outdoors in the Canadian city, even though the show tries to pass off their meeting as having taken place in Washington, D.C., where Mulder and Scully work as FBI agents. (Minjun’s work was intended to be a temporary installation, but Lululemon founder Chip Wilson bought it for $1.5 million in 2012 and donated it to the city.) As the show’s mantra goes: “Trust no one.”

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