Post Cultural Revolution

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It doesn’t matter whether a cat is black or white; it’s a good cat as long as it catches mice.

Deng Xiaoping(1904-1997) 邓小平  1986

Mao’s death in 1976 set off a wave of major changes in China. His successor, Deng Xiaoping, promoted economic reform. Deng’s famous quote, “It doesn’t matter if it’s a black cat or a white cat, as long as it catches mice,” uses metaphor to express his intent to achieve progress for China using any means necessary. Images of Lei Feng, Communist China’s model soldier, and posters of soldiers on guard reveal China’s enduring value of military strength. However, this era also saw the return of a more open, pre-Cultural Revolution atmosphere, allowing for creativity, self-expression and cultural commentary in the public sphere. Regionally, artists were developing their own styles, many influenced by newly discovered mid-20th century Western prints. Three prints from Inner Mongolia highlight how some artists combined traditional techniques with radically new subject matter, creating a synthesis of past and present.



P1030183“Spring in Dazhai”
Offset print, ca. 1971
TwoPoemsTwo Poems by Mao Zedong
Offset print, 1976
P1030181Friendship First
Offset print, 1972
P1030180“The Old Party Secretary” 
Offset print, 1974
P1030182Ode to Yan’an
Qian Songyan 钱松嵒 (1898-1985)
Offset print, 1971
P1030178Deng Xiaoping
Chen Qijiang and Zhou Congkai
Offset print, n.d.
P1030177“I’ve endured hardship,
so that a billion people
could prosper”
张文源 Zhang Wenyuan
Offset print, 1986

Mao Jacket
Grey wool, 1994

LeiFengChina’s Good Kid – Lei Feng
Lei Wenbin 雷文彬
Offset lithographic print, 1990
P1030174The Market
Bao Shide
Woodblock print, 1985
slider3Watching Television
Woodblock print, 1980s

P1030176Returning Home Late
Tie Zhuangzi
Woodblock print, undated