Zhang Xiaogang

My Memory No. 1

Zhang Xiaogang

My Memory No. 1

Price: $5,000.00

Framing not included


Color Etching
Edition Size:
113 x 131 cm (44.5 x 51.6 in)
Signed and numbered

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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.

About the Artist


Zhang Xiaogang (born 1958, Kunming, China) is a Chinese symbolist and surrealist painter. He is famous with his Bloodline series, where mostly monochromatic, stylized portraits of Chinese people are presented as part of the artist's exploration of the 'family' concept.

About the printing Technique

Weng Contemporary Etching

Artists from Rembrandt to Picasso have used etching to create some of their most famous works. Etching has often been combined with other intaglio techniques such as engraving or aquatint.