21.02.2024 – 15.03.2024

Galerie 75 Faubourg presents “MAO”, an exhibition highlighting the vision of various contemporary artists on Mao Zedong (1893-1976), an emblematic figure in Chinese and world history. The image of Mao is explored through a selection of paintings, works on paper and sculptures by Chen Changwei, David Mach, Yan Pei-Ming, Richard Pettibone, Li Shan, Andy Warhol, and Wang Ziwei.

“MAO” offers an in-depth reflection on different perspectives on the cultural and political impact of Mao Zedong in China and around the world, examining how contemporary artists are responding to his complex legacy. The representation of Mao Zedong in contemporary art is a rich and diverse subject, reflecting the different ways in which artists approach Chinese history, politics, and culture, as well as more universal questions of power, authority and collective memory.

Mao Zedong, as China’s revolutionary leader and founder of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, played a central role in modern Chinese history. His reign, particularly during the Cultural Revolution, was marked by events and policies that profoundly influenced Chinese society and the course of world history.

The official portrait of the Chinese President, taken from Chinese propaganda, shows him from the front, expressionless and extremely neutral. This image gives the impression that the photographer has completely disappeared to capture Mao in an objectively detached way. There is no hint of the president’s personality. In this way, the artist seems to disappear behind the technique, without any visible intervention in the form.

This neutral portrait was subsequently taken up by a number of contemporary artists, each transforming it with their own distinctive style. Artists adopt a variety of approaches, revisiting traditional iconography, criticizing the policies and actions of his regime, exploring nostalgia, and historically reassessing his impact, all the while indulging in a sometimes ironic or satirical cultural reappropriation. Some artists deliberately draw on the aesthetics of communist propaganda, creating works that explore the relationship between art, politics, and popular culture.