ill. 5.45 a (set: 5.45)
Zhang Chenchu (1973-) 张晨初
internet file, black-and-white; original source: photograph, colour
Zhang Chenchu, Red is the East Series, 2007 (DACHS 2008 Mao Images 2, no. 122), Heidelberg catalogue entry
Mao Zedong, red, young Mao, old Mao, Red is the East, repitition, Mao memories, Mao portrait, Chinese avantgarde
Zhang Chenchu: Red is the East Series (Zhang Chenchu: Dongfang hong xilie 张晨初: 东方红系列)
Repetitions of the Mao portrait in the work of a much younger artist, Zhang Chenchu 张晨初 (1973–), may illustrate that many a generation of artists in China, even those who hardly knew Mao, the man, during his lifetime, reflect upon being confronted by his portrait in their art. In his 2007 painting series entitled in English Eastern Red Series (东方红系列) which, more literally, would be translated as Red Is the East Series, Zhang presents a set of oil paintings reduced in colors to grey, red, white, and black, presenting Mao at different ages in black and grey before a bright red background. Mao’s portrait is, in each case, strangely shadowed over, except for a small stretch of light (as if a flashlight) in the form of a bar running right through the middle of his face (ill. 5.45a & ill. 5.45b).