Huang Jingyuan uses visual imagery to comment on the funny-frightening disconnects between—as she puts it—“a rising China’s picture of the world” and “a rising China as pictured by the world.” The heavily framed paintings in Gossip from Confucius City (2011) look from a distance like black-and-white photographs. Instead, they are hyper-realistic fictions in which androgynous Western models and movie characters act out dreamlike scenarios in distinctively “Chinese” settings. The work’s title refers not to Confucian tradition as such but to the state-sponsored Confucius Institutes, which promote China and its culture around the world. Huang Jingyuan intends her plausible yet jarring imagery to highlight the ways in which Chinese authorities are distorting history, tradition and philosophy to create a national identity of dynamism and success. But her work also serves as a reminder that the crazy salad of globalisation has a creative energy of its own, one that is beyond any state’s power to control.