My Memory No. 1
My Memory No. 1
Framing not included
- Color Etching
- Edition Size:
- 113 x 131 cm (44.5 x 51.6 in)
- Signed and numbered
About the Artwork
Zhang Xiaogang in his works draws on memories of life during the Cultural Revolution, which evoke his Surrealist inspirations. Raising to international prominence in the 1990s as a quintessential exponent of the Chinese contemporary art scene, Xiaogang is mostly reknown for his “Bloodline: Big Family” series. Within his production, Xiaogang explores the concept of family and collectivism in the Chinese society.
"There’s a complex relationship between the state and the people that I could express by using the Cultural Revolution. China is like a family, a big family. Everyone has to rely on each other and to confront each other."
Basing his works around the concept of ‘family’ –immediate, extended, and societal – the artist portraits an endless genealogy of imagined forebears and progenitors, each unnervingly similar and distinguished by minute differences. He wants to paint the characters as if bearing the same - indistinguishable and interchangeable - facial features. They can be either a man or a woman, almost genderless. Xiaogang wants to show that his subjects are resembling clones, bearing the same looks, having the same thoughts.
Xiaogang uses his old family photographs from the time of the Cultural Revolution as the framework from which he documents the scarred memory of the generations before him, stylistically moving away from the Western expressionist style and returning to the genuine roots of Chinese history. The eerie translucent marks on the subjects' faces seem either disfiguring or decorative, intrinsic or superficial mistakes, and emphasize the works’ disquieting character.
My Memory No. 1 represents a child, the face in a smooth pearly finish akin to porcelain, detached and impersonal yet moving and nostalgic. Typical to Xiaogang's images, the subject is detached, and the posture resembles an adult, signifying future power. The patches of color in the image are used to further idealize the subject: the thin red lines running through the figure represent complex, subtle and persistent ties, a bloodline that connects the the past with the present.