RED LANDS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guy Debord predicted thirty years ago in The Society of the Spectacle both the co-dependency and co- lapse of polarized geopolitics founded upon the capital/labour dialectic, foreshadowing the same paradox Xiong's installations explore.

Debord read between two antagonizing ideologies the interchangeability of their political discourse; seeing that the maxims of Marxism and the slogans of consumerism were not really political extremes, but ultimately means of persuasion subservient to the program of an absolute order through which society is made uniform and by which it's cultural forms are standardized standardized to conform with a homogenous system.

Red Lands depolarizes the effects of political dogma vis-a-vis western pop culture. The west's underdeveloped political consciousness is offset by Gu's own awareness of a dislocated identity.

Hung on opposite walls at A space gallery, family portraits by Gu Xiong face a Mao series by Andy Warhol. A mano-a-mano of cultural and sociopolitical contexts that borrow and alternate signifiers: Mao, the Socialist cult icon, foregoes it's communist affiliation and becomes an icon of consumerism -A chairman of a marketing board. Conversely, the faces and grimaces of corporate clowns morph into a friendly immigrant family who relate identity to entertainment and fast-food franchise loyalty. Alien yet familiar.

The rhetoric is optional in the sense that one could easily transpose the script without changing the spirit of the message, just as the slogans on pixel signs on either side of a red bridge -Mao's exhortation to become a cogwheel in the engine of the revolution and Warhol's sound bite of intellectual vacuity: "in the future everybody should be a machine...think the same,look the same..."-mirror each other and come full circle.

 

 

 

GU XIONG reassesses his own inception within the current of contemporary art and claims a territory, a cultural space that becomes richly layered with the detritus of despotic rule, both political and commercial. The red of the cultural revolution becomes the background for a cut-out mounty with slanted eyes, candidly unaware perhaps that his identity has been bought by Disney.

The sale of the mounty attests to the PRE-emptying of symbols of nationalism. Their repackaging and relocation, a contingency of supply and demand.

The custodians of patriotism might just one day sale-pitch the Maple Leaf to the boards of Warner, Sony or Matel in compliance with the latest trend in global marketing culture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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