Wang Yigang (1961- ) 王易罡
painting, oil painting
internet file, colour; original source: oil on canvas, 115.00 x 90.00 cm
Wang Yigang 王易罡: Yang Zirong 杨子荣 (sic, alias Hong Changqing), 2002 (DACHS 2008 Mao Images, 168), Heidelberg catalogue entry
model heroes, hero, Yang Zirong, Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy, Hong Changqing, The Red Detachment of Women, Chinese propaganda art, model works, recontextualization, Cultural Revolution sexuality, tradtional symbols, symbolism, mass culture, parody
Wang Yigang: Yang Zirong (Wang Yigang: Yang Zirong 王易罡: 杨子荣)
Today, model heroes may also be presented in personalized (sexual) fantasies, as in this oil painting by Wang Yigang 王易罡 (1961-), for example, entitled Yang Zirong 杨子荣 (2002). The image juxtaposes one of the main heroes from the model works (in fact not Yang Zirong from revolutionary opera Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy 智取威虎山, as the title suggests, but Hong Changqing from model ballet The Red Detachment of Women 红色娘子军) combined with the face of a beautiful woman and symbols of marriage (the sign for double happiness) and female sexual maturity (when the peony, the sign of female maidenhood seen here, begins to bloom, so traditional lore has it, it is picked by the young man).
The fact that the hero is (consciously or not) mislabeled becomes part of this images’ irreverence. The enigmatic writing on the painting connects it with other paintings in the same series, all of which juxtapose commodities, Chinese cloth patterns and symbols, as well as elements from Chinese propaganda art and sexually provocative images of women’s bodies. It reads 微露主义永放光芒 which roughly translated as “A dogma of small revelations will always send out its rays.” It thus suggests a mocking reading of Cultural Revolution propaganda art which features, time and again, the rays of Mao the sun and his “revelations.”