Wu Shaoxiang and Jiang Shuo
The New Age Cadres


November 10ˇXDecember 21, 2005

Plum Blossoms Gallery, New York

 
 

[FK0128]
JIANG SHUO

Red Guard- Flag II
, #7/8

Plum Blossoms Gallery, New York, is pleased to present Wu Shaoxiang and Jiang Shuo in exhibition together, The New Age Cadres. Husband and wife, Wu Shaoxiang and Jiang Shuo are both sculptors practicing in Austria, where they emigrated from China after escaping the Tiananmen Square Incident in 1989. Both reflect on their experiences growing up in Maoist China using poignant, critical humor.

Through his new works, Wu Shaoxiang addresses the cult of Mao, morphing Mao Zedongˇ¦s visage into bronze casts of the familiar rotund Happy Buddha figure that is regarded as a symbol of good fortune in China. Mao, once the terrible, magnificent patriarch leader, takes on a new sublimity as the forebear of his nationˇ¦s contemporary economic success. With a jug of wine and a rosary in each hand, Mao laughs all the way to the bank, while neck-ties ˇV paraphernalia of global corporate culture ˇV adorn his naked, bulging torso with the branded iconography that now carries so much currency amongst Chinaˇ¦s nouveau elite: Louis Vuitton monographs; dollar signs; and Playboy bunnies. Additional abstracted Mao figurines welded together from international coinage emphasize Maoˇ¦s totemic status. Primal and phallic, yet smooth and otherworldly, they could easily be artifacts invoking the Great Leaderˇ¦s glossy legacy.


[FK0124]
JIANG SHUO
Red Guard- Flag I
, #6/8
 

Once a Red Guard herself, Jiang Shuo also uses abstracted human form to address the fallout from the Cultural Revolution. Her bronze figurines, done in the lost-wax bronze casting method, depict Red Guards at play and in various states of ecstasy. Jiang Shuo reveals the complex emotional and psychological structure that upheld what is now regarded as one of the most horrific episodes of recent human history. Fully expressive of the youthful idealism that drove so many students to take on Chairman Maoˇ¦s revolutionary invective, these sculptures are underpinned by subtle sexual tension and a wry aura of inevitable, life-changing trauma and violence ˇV the idyll gone wild. For Jiang Shuo, the great irony is that the Red Guard generation now constitutes the group of leaders, businessmen, and entrepreneurs forging Chinaˇ¦s economic liberalization, a point aptly illustrated by one figure of a young girl cadre straddling a giant Coke bottle: still couched in totalitarian ideology, China has launched into uncharted territory, embracing the capitalism she once so opposed.

Wu Shaoxiang was born in Jiangxi Province, China, in 1957. From 1969 to 1978 he was ˇ§sent downˇ¨ to the countryside where he worked as a farmer, brick-layer, and rafter. Following the end of the Cultural Revolution, Wu went to study sculpture at the Jingdezhen Ceramics Institute and later did postgraduate studies at the Central Academy of Arts and Design in Beijing. A leading sculptor in Chinaˇ¦s New Wave art movement, Wu lectured at the Central Academy of Arts & Design and was named one of Chinaˇ¦s ten most influential avant-garde artists. He left China in 1989, moving to Austria and establishing a studio with his wife, Jiang Shuo.


[CR0162]
WU SHAOXIANG

Happy New Age Cadre- Money


[CR0168]
WU SHAOXIANG

New Age Cadre- Mercedes

     

Jiang Shuo was born in Beijing, China, in 1958. A Red Guard during the Cultural Revolution, she studied at the Central Academy of Arts & Design and lectured there after finishing postgraduate studies. She left China in 1989, moving to Austria and establishing a studio with her husband, Wu Shaoxiang.
[FK0130]
JIANG SHUO
Red Guard- Cola Rider
 

 

OTHER EXHIBITIONS

Jiang Shuo
Jiang Shuo: Red Guards Today

Red Guards: Recent Sculptures by Jiang Shuo

Wu Shaoxiang
The New Age Cadres, Hong Kong

Words and Images - Recent paintings and sculptures by Wu Shaoxiang

Coining MoMA- Wu Shaoxiang

 

 

 


Copyright 2005 by Plum Blossoms (International) Ltd. All rights reserved.