mao poem

Recent Work: Day 2/7 with explanation

Mao Zedong’s slogan on an old invoice from 1932

I have a phase of great creativity and work on several series at the same time. For one week I will present representative works from the last 2-3 weeks.

invoice with mao slogan

Some time ago I started combining poems or slogans by Mao Zedong with old or ancient European documents. It is a project that I will present at a later date. As always there is a deeper meaning in this work.

For the deeper meaning behind it, one has to recall a political campaign during the Cultural Revolution. With the slogan: “Let 100 flowers bloom and 100 schools compete with each other” (100 Flowers Campaign) Mao Zedong encouraged people (especially young intellectuals and artists) to express their opinion and also criticism of the ruling party. After many had accepted the offer, they were sent to a labor camp – or worse. A nasty trick that Mao has rightly been accused of to this day.

So if we take a closer look at the upper part now we may see it differently: The insecticide’s company name refers to flowers. A devil sprays poison to get rid of his “pests”. There is a flowery name on the device he uses. But the content is fatal.

BTW: This trick goes back to the 36 war strategies: 三十六计. One of the lists is: “Trouble the water to catch fish“. (Number 20. 混水摸魚 / Hun Shui Mo Yu – Trouble the Water to Catch Fish)

(Actually, there is another fragment of thought on this bill. To this day, when the Chinese government, for example, sentences a young man to death and shoots him, it sends an invoice to the victim’s family with which they have to pay for the fatal bullet.)

I recently have worked on this topic in various ways. One of my favorite works on this one:
Mao Poem Let 100 Flowers bloom 百花齐放
Let 100 flowers bloom…

It is a copy (painted) of the original calligraphy by Mao Zedong from 1956: “Let 100 flowers bloom and 100 schools compete with each other ” (百花齐放,百家争鸣 ) on a sheet of paper that I used to press very sensitive flowers. The destroyed flower, and the arrangement of the dynamic, should reinforce the message of the work, pointing to the cold and deadly wind under the surface, the tricky slogan.

More of this kind can be seen in: mao poems. related posting

project recent works week: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 , 6, 7



5 responses to “Recent Work: Day 2/7 with explanation”

  1. swabby429 avatar

    This is highly intriguing.

  2. Martha Kennedy avatar

    These are powerful.

  3. avatar

    Thank you Martha! The older and weaker I get, the more my strength comes from my thoughts. The challenge for the near future is to get a better grip on “qi”.

  4. rose kern avatar
    rose kern

    Friedrich, the lilac flowers and calligraphy,what a statement,I got nearly homesick for China, would like to see your painting in reality, what size is it?

  5. avatar

    Thank you so much, Rose! Yes, homesick here too – although so much is no longer the way we want it to be. And knowing full well that a trip to China will be an illusion for a long time to come.

    It is just ordinay receipt size: 210 x 297 mm.

    When will my next exhibition be? Fall 2022 is a realistic date. In the meantime I’m trying to create something suitable 🙂

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