Thursday, March 26, 2009
Yu Youhan and the Mao Series:
I think Yu's series of pop-art styled paintings of Mao Zedong are very interesting. What fascinates me about this series, is the juxtaposition of reverentials. What works about these pieces is their grounding in the hyper-politicized period of China from the late sixties well into the seventies - the cultural revolution. Mao's status became (as it was already becoming), something no longer human. His image instead took on its own life independent of the physical Mao. In the pop-art series (the one with Whitney Huston is a great example) we see this revered image that is so part of the public consciousness next to and within a style (as well as with the images themselves) of the new generations revered culture. With the advent of capitalism, consumerism - as well as Westernism in a more general sense - these have taken on a sort of quasi-divine status that is held, by and large in the public conscious, as the new fixation of the public cult of worship. This fits into the increasingly depoliticized world that China has descended into (as well as the art scene). The use of Mao in the art work serves to remind us of the recent hyper-politicization and where the current political and social world stands and has changed, with a satiric eye towards the similarities.