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Great Leap Forward
March 23, 2005 6:50 PM   Subscribe

Mo' MAO. "If you stare at a red shape for a long time, when you turn away, your retina will hold the image but you will see a green version of the same shape. In the same way, when I lived in China, I saw the positive image of Mao so many times that my mind now holds a negative image of Mao. In my art I am transferring this psychological feeling to a physical object." --Zhang Hongtu
posted by gimonca (15 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Best one, hands down.
posted by Sangermaine at 6:54 PM on March 23, 2005


I thought this was going to be one of those Jesus-image type things where you stare at an abstract shape for long enough and when you turn away, you see Jesus everywhere. A Mao version of that would have been great.
posted by TheGoldenOne at 6:58 PM on March 23, 2005


nice images here are his sayings
posted by robbyrobs at 7:15 PM on March 23, 2005


Zhang Hongtu ain't gonna make it with anyone, anyhow.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:20 PM on March 23, 2005


I just finished, for the third time, Delillo's Mao II.

This must be, like, cosmic.
posted by davy at 8:28 PM on March 23, 2005


In China, although Mao is still pretty much revered, the whole Mao-era style is pretty kitsch. I mean I know of at least two restaurants here in Shenzhen alone that are Cultural Revolution-themed.

The pictures are at least interesting.
posted by taschenrechner at 8:39 PM on March 23, 2005


That was great. In the future, I think there should be a grand battle. Supermao vs Superstalin.

SUPERMAO. It's just fun to type. And say.
posted by blacklite at 8:58 PM on March 23, 2005


Interesting, the artist is exorcising the Mao image by repeated transformation and exposure. Makes sense, like some kind of de-sensitization therapy. Entertaining too.
posted by scheptech at 9:56 PM on March 23, 2005


I can only guess at what kind of desensitization it would require to have Cultural Revolution styled theme restaurants.

As an American, I'm equating it to something like theme restaurants styled after the McCarthyist Red Scare, except with a little more needless bloodshed in its history.

On the other hand, China is still communist. I wonder, though, are the restaurants propagandist? Do they intend to glorify Mao?

This link was good, by the way. At first I was kind of blech about it, but when you get to the pieces with missing Mao silhouettes it gets really interesting.

My favorite.
posted by shmegegge at 10:51 PM on March 23, 2005


This is the last thing he saw before the hail of subsonic ammunition, fired through the hotel door from a silenced Steyr Tactical Machine Pistol, quickly ended his capitalist life.
posted by neckro23 at 11:49 PM on March 23, 2005


shmegegge: On the other hand, China is still communist.

On paper, yes. Ever been there?

Oh, and good post.
China is teeming with creativity -- once you give the people there the means to express it, there'll be thousands of artists like Zhang Hongtu. Not that that is a bad thing...
posted by sour cream at 2:16 AM on March 24, 2005


my mind now holds a negative image of Mao.

Doesn't he look a lot like David Horowitz, this negative image?
posted by nofundy at 4:57 AM on March 24, 2005


I'm equating it to something like theme restaurants styled after the McCarthyist Red Scare, except with a little more needless bloodshed in its history.

A little?

Though I agree, what this says about the mentality is provoking. I mean, imagine Spanish artists doing such things with Franco, or Germans with Hitler, or Cambodians with Pol Pot, or Chileans with Pinochet, or (you get the idea).

And he does rather give on the willies. Much like a malevolent Pillsbury Doughboy.
posted by IndigoJones at 6:02 AM on March 24, 2005


I mean, imagine Spanish artists doing such things with Franco, or Germans with Hitler, or Cambodians with Pol Pot, or Chileans with Pinochet, ...

There is of course the tiny difference that Mao is still revered throughout China -- even if it's only make-belief and pretend by the nomenclatura, he is still regarded as a half-god by much of the rural population. Although that may be declining as well.
He was also arguably less of mass murderer than the other dictators you mention, although that comparison is of course difficult, and ultimately futile.
posted by sour cream at 6:28 AM on March 24, 2005


[this is good]
posted by Shane at 9:43 AM on March 24, 2005


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