Monday, November 26, 2007

Zhang Xiaogang

Did people dream in black and white before the development of photography? Zhang Xiaogang paints surrealist family portraits that hearken both to photographs from the past and the dream world, which are perhaps experienced as the same place. Zhang's parents were sent to 'study camp' during the Cultural Revolution and he himself was sent to re-education camp as a teenager. His portraits evoke the blank stares of those exiled from the world of the living, waking life as a re-education regime.

In the early 90s, the government found his paintings to be unfit for cultural display. Now they are sold for millions of dollars, following Charles Saatchi's 2006 purchase of the painting A Big Family. Zhang is part of an ongoing Chinese artistic revolution, slowly invading the Western mindscape in a silent coup.

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