‘All is well under heaven but the sky-high prices’. Yuan Tianwen shoots China’s modern real estate fantasy which consists of neo-neo-classical villas with a touch of Louis XVI. His clientele aspire to live in old Europe, a Europe that only endures in museums and outdated houses. The centuries often collide together so in one shot you end up with the dutiful wife’s hair drawn back in tight curls typical of the Italian Renaissance with a Victorian lampshade beside her.
His staged aspirational tableaux deal with the obsession with property, a thorny issue which is capable of ending relationships in contemporary China. Buying a house is integral to adulthood, to marriage, to gain the respect of your peers. By playing to the fantasy and adding a waxwork edge to it, Yuan creates a memorable Chinese version of the Stepford Wives and lampoons the Chinese Dream.