ill. 5.45 d (set: 5.45)
Zhang Chenchu (1973-) 张晨初
internet file, colour; original source: oil on canvas, colour
DACHS 2009 Zhang Chenchu Blog, Complete Works, Heidelberg catalogue entry
Mao Zedong, Mao portrait, repitition, Chinese avantgarde, Mao memories
Zhang Chenchu: Mao (Zhang Chenchu: Mao 张晨初: 毛)
Even though the Eastern Red Series contradicts or even subverts the standards set for painting Mao during the Cultural Revolution, its intent is not to bring down Mao as standard: the spectacular reduction to harshly contrasting colors of black, red, and white presented here accords quite literally with Zhang’s aim of creating “a perfectly objective historical record of Mao Zedong” as well as to “leave a record of the bitter and harsh phase of red history” (我以我的视觉努力企图恢复对毛泽东形象较完整的客观的历史记述 ... 同时也从侧面反映中国上个世纪艰苦卓绝、 波澜壮阔的红色历程) (DACHS 2009 Zhang Chenchu Writings).
The multiple layers in these negotiations of Mao and his significance for Zhang Chenchu are evident in another Mao series that appeared in 2006. Here, too, the bar of light occurs. But apart from that, this consists of a number of Mao’s standard portraits in different (and very warm) colors (ill. 5.45d). The series becomes the reference point to a number of other portrait series of political figures by Zhang: the light bar is used again in his 2006 painting Leaders—Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Mao (领袖—马恩列斯毛) followed by Leaders One (领袖之一) and Leaders Two (领袖之二), respectively, each of which shows China’s leaders including Zhu De, Liu Shaoqi, Mao Zedong, Hua Guofeng, and Deng Xiaoping, first in color, and in the second version reduced to grey tones, but all with the same “crack-lighting” device applied.