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Jiang Peng 蒋鹏

 

When the Cultural Revolution (1967 – 1976) swept across China, Jiang Peng was a little boy; his experience was totally different from that of adults. Artists of Jiang’s generation are nostalgic, constantly looking back with complex emotions toward their childhood, and youth. Sometimes they seem narcissistic, or self-pitying, but most of the time they ridicule the world and history or sneer at themselves with some sadness. The happiness and joys of their childhood are enveloped in the absurdity of the “Revolution.” 

  For every Chinese who went through the “ Revolution,” all remember the movement called “Destructive Pests.” At that time, the whole country strove to kill every pest, even birds, and all kind of insects in order to save grain. Of course, all children and students became involved into that movement. For days, students needn’t go to school; instead, they chased after rats or flies, or any bugs in their city or in the countryside.

Jiang Peng’s bugs are big, memories of the fun and happy times of his childhood, but you can be sure they all died, whether good or bad - mostly the good - killed by the little people who wore the red scarf with a toy gun or knife or sword, the Young Pioneers (an organization before the Little Red Guards).

Jiang’s world is beautiful and absurd at same time, a world of bright colors - orange, blue, green yellow – which is both naïve and fun.  The dead bugs - larger than life ladybugs, bees, caterpillars, worms - indicate not just life’s mystery and happiness, but also life’s inevitability and cruelty. His little people are strange; their faces, seemingly old and serious, are still those of children. Through innocence mixed with cruel killings, he reveals the twistedness of human nature.  

This new series references Brainwash. Brainwash  does not exist only in communist China, but is everywhere else in this world. Jiang Peng is telling what he and his generation experienced, how they were brainwashed by an ideology that came from above or from a different culture. They were forced to accept, had no way out. A machine, brush, or needle or blade is coming down , you see the bandaged wounds on their heads , while they are  reading a wrinkled red book, or sadly watch the whole process. There are a lot of interesting details, from a red book to playboy magazine, red chairman Mao pin on the shirt, or two red bar (ranking bar of the Young Pioneers ) on shirt sleeve. But  the most touching part is the expression on everyone’s face, which moves us all deeply inside.   

  Jiang’s art is pure and innocent; smart and fun. He bring you back to your childhood, no matter if you are Chinese or not, had been in the “ Revolution” or not. Like Miyazaki’s anime, his human stories have a greater subject beyond them; through them, he opens up  new channels that allow us to see more, think deeper.   

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Brian Wash - The Reward

acrylic on canvas              70 x 50 cm

 

Brian Wash - It's Time For Medicine

acrylic on canvas              70 x 50 cm

 

Brian Wash - The Successor

acrylic on canvas              39 x 39"

 The More You Confess Your Fault, The Better You Will Get in The End

acrylic on canvas  40.1 x 35.4 "

The Winner

Acrylic on canvas              200 x 150cm

Red Cat and The Winner are about a famous idea of Deng Xiao Ping that changed China’s modern history. At the end of 70s, after the Cultural Revolution, Deng Xiao Ping expressed this idea: no matter what color a cat is, if it can catch a mouse, it is a good cat. Thus he confronted those who argued against his new policy as being more capitalist than socialist.

 

Red Cat

Acrylic on canvas              140 x 140cm

Deng’s new policy was to give land and some freedom to people, especially to the peasants, allowing them to make some money without fearing accusations of being capitalists. Red Cat, wearing a Mao suit, is honored by having two mice pinned on as his medal. In The Winner, a powerful piece, the cat wears a western suit, with a bloody mouse-tail as a pin on his collar

 Brain Wash - A Fabricated History

Acrylic on canvas    27.5 x 20"

The More Resistance The Harsher The Punishment

Acrylic on canvas              39 x 39" 

Brain Wash-12

Acrylic on canvas              27.5 x 20" 

 

Brain Wash-  Report on Good Dee

Acrylic on canvas            59x 78" 

At those lectures, a fake role model, a value from up were sampled. He is reading a made up story or something written by someone else, the draft falls on the stage.

Brain Wash- 13-2

Acrylic on canvas             30 x 29" 

Brain Wash 6 - Soul Food

Acrylic on canvas              85 x 150 cm

Brain Wash- 2013-8

Acrylic on canvas              39 x 39 " 

Brain Wash 2013-7

Acrylic on canvas              39 x 39"

 

The Red Cat Series - Red Heredity 

Acrylic on canvas              40 x 40 " 

The Red Heredity, Behind the girl in shadow, standing a father figure, he passes his power and wealth to his next generation.

 

The Red Cat Series - Big Boss             Acrylic on canvas        59 x 34  " 

 Ironically, the Big Boss, is a portrait of the later successful “red capitalist”, the second generation of Communists who gets the power and money. He wears  a Mao suit, honored by having one mouse pinned on as his medal.

Brain Wash- Name Brand Crazy 

Acrylic on canvas              70 x 67 " 

 

Brain Wash - Renew Our Thought

Acrylic on canvas              40 x 40 " 

He is trying to renew or update his brain. Through the window, you see two slogan on the billboard above a factory building: " Unify with the Newest Idea!". In front him , a cane food - soul food is ready to be put into his head.

 

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