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PROFILES

Chen Zhou

The Post-Happy Artist

by Ming Lin

Portrait of Chen Zhou. Courtesy the artist and Aike-Dellarco, Shanghai. 

"When was the first smile?" This was the question that Chen Zhou asked himself when his current obsession with the ubiquitous smiley-face symbol began. Tracing the expression's roots, he found the logical answer embedded in the human skull: the jawbone's curvature and the vacant eye sockets can be seen as physiognomic precursors to the vacuous expression that is now known universally as a symbol for convivial feelings, friendship and general happiness. It was this perverse, if…

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