“My interest in the hat was piqued at the time of the Olympic Games in Athens, when various hats were used to denote the ranking of the medal winners. They were all based around the shaped of an olive. It was a harmless idea, intended to promote the fact of the games being held in Greece, where the whole concept of the games originated. It was also rather amusing. It made me think about the origin of hats, and how the symbolism of “the hat” evolved. Why was it that this particular accessory became the sign of a job, a social position? Or stranger still, how a hat could signify nationality, or an ethnic group? People who choose to wear hats today usually use them to make statements about their personalities, so the hat becomes an extension of the wearer’s image. No one chooses a hat lightly: it has to be right.”
- Excerpt from an unpublished essay, An Interview with Yue Minjun (2007), by Karen Smith, curator and art historian.