Zhang Hongtu | the artist

The artist Zhang Hongtu
Pseudonym: Hong-tu Zhang
Born 1943, Pingliang, Gansu Province, China.
Lives and works in New York, USA, .

Style and technique of the artist: Painting, Sculpture Objects,

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Original artworks, prints, exhibition posters, monographs, books, collectibles.

Biography and art, auction, artworks, interview, statement, website:

Zhang Hongtu grew up through both the Chinese Civil War and the ensuing Cultural Revolution before immigrating to New York in 1982. Zhang’s Long Live Chairman Mao Series #29 portrays a humorously critical blend of these ‘diametric’ cultures, transplanting the omni-present image of Zedong from his childhood into a parody western logo. Mao’s apparition on a box of Quaker Oats -- all-American emblem of wholesome goodness -- is nothing short of miraculous: The image is actually the real label, altered ever so slightly. The uncanny resemblance between communist leader and puritan farmer ironically confuses propaganda, religion, and ideology with the kitsch of advertising and cult of personality; like Elvis and Jesus, once you start looking Mao can be found everywhere.

xposed to today's political events and strongly imbued with current artistic trends, Zhang combines icons and metaphysical concepts from China and the West, exposing themes that might appear ironic, yet provoke a sense of unease in the spectator...

Most of Zhang Hongtu's works are mixed media conceptual paintings. Zhang's images have frequently featured a central cutout, the edges of which form the silhouette of an well known cultural icons from both eastern and western culture. After the Chinese government crashed pro-democracy movement ,which has been called Tiananmen Square incident, Zhang has intensively created a series of the image of Chairman Mao Zedong as a symbol of pervasive power. These Mao images really made a splash that journals, magazines, advertisers, even trendy fashion houses adopted Zhang's work...

Works and bio

This work is from a body of works know as the Sunrise paintings, an example of an artist's more private response to the Cultural Revolution, though it is not immediately recognizable as such...