These litographs belongs to the set of twenty lithographs from "The Storyteller's Enchantments of Zhang Xiaogang ", which comes as a limited edition of 130 rare books.Inspired by old family photos from the Cultural Revolution period, as well as the European tradition of surrealism, Zhang Xiaogang’s lithographs engage with the notion of identity within the Chinese culture of collectivism.
Basing his work around the concept of ‘family’ –immediate, extended, and societal – Xiaogang’s portraits depict an endless genealogy of imagined forebears and progenitors, each unnervingly similar and distinguished by minute difference. With their visages masked in soft shadows and rendered slightly out of focus, Xiaogang heightens the sense of inconsequential identity; only the eyes are fully illuminated, hollow and clone-like, perfect identikit transplants hallmarking the succession of ductility over will. He wanted to paint the characters as if they look the same. They can be a man or a woman. He want to show that they are like cloned people and they have the same thoughts.
Based on his old family photographs from the Cultural Revolution as the basic framework, through this series, the artist attempts to document the scarred memory of the previous generations, moving away from Western expressionistic style and returning to the roots of the Chinese history. Like watermarks or birthmarks, they seem either disfiguring or decorative, intrinsic or a superficial mistake, and emphasize the works’ disquieting character. Appearing on all works in the series, the marks also “brand” the individuals as part of a collective and thereby associate themselves with Xiaogang’s preoccupation with the lost concept of individuality and the emphasis of collectivity during the Cultural Revolution.
His work mainly reflects his childhood and teenage memories. During the time when he grew up, China was a completely different place from today. His paintings strive to capture a person's process of growing up and the experiences they go through, as well as how they are influenced by the time period in which they lived.
Mercury sea- Litograph on paper.
Edition size: 132
Signature: Signed and numbered