12 January – 1 April 2007
Shao Yinong & Muchen
The appearance of Mao on the Gate of Heavenly Peace (Tiananmen) for the foundation of the People’s Republic of China, must have added a new political dimension to the former imperial building, and reintroduced the hidden ruling power to finally symbolise the beginning of a new era. However, this project is not going to focus on Mao conventionally, but turn the lens back to the masses themselves, in other words, the Collective Identity of Mao’s people. Since 1949, mass assemblies have become a familiar and prominent phenomenon during numerous political movements, especially the Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966-76), which has made the ‘collectiveness’ far outweigh its literal meaning. Instead, based on the sociological and political backgrounds, the notion of ‘collectiveness’ has been interpreted productively and variously in China.
Sometimes it could be embellished as a ‘family’; sometimes it could be designed as a ‘criterion’ of daily life, or indeed, constructed as an idealistic identity for ‘the people’. The visual representation of ‘the people’ were witnessed and visually documented by the photojournalists on the one hand; on the other hand, in the Post-Mao era, the people’s Collective Identity has been reflected and reinterpreted consistently as one of the most significant motifs in contemporary art practice.
The exhibition will include contemporary artworks by Hu Jieming, Liu Dahong, Miao Xiaochun, Qui Zhijie,Shao Yinong and Mu Chen, Wang Chuan, Wang Jinsong, Wu Yiming; and the relevant journalist photographs of the Cultural Revolution. The exhibition will firstly open at the Chinese Arts Centre in Manchester from January to April, and then be hosted at the University Museum and Art Gallery of the Univeristy of Hong Kong, from June to July 2007.
Dr. Joshua (Jiehong) Jiang is a researcher focusing on Chinese visual culture and contemporary art, and postgraduate lecturer at Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, University of Central England.