Size: 200×300cm

Signed and dated: Painted in 2008


Final Price: unsold

2009 REVISION / P50-51 / Pace Beijing
2010 The Constructed Dimension 2010 Chinese Contemporary Art Invitational Exhibition / P160-161 / China Youth Press
2012 Contemporary Art in 21st-Century China / P386 / Charta
2016 Zhang Xiaogang Works, Docements and Research 1981-2014 / P678-679 / Sichuan Fine Arts Publishing House
signed in Chinese and dated 2008
2008 REVISION, Pace Wildenstein, NewYork
2010 Change the History2000-2009 Chinese New Art Exhibition, National Conference Center, Beijing
2010 The Constructed Dimension 2010 Chinese Contemporary Art Invitational Exhibition, National Art Museum of China, Beijing
2018 Stage: Zhang Xiaogang 2008-2018, Hubei Museum of Art, Wuhan

In China, green was the other revolutionary color besides red. It is plain, natural and commonplace, and was the fashionable color in 1960s and 70s China. Every young person wanted to wear the green military uniform and hat. By employing this green, the artist attempts to locate the intermingling of the individual and the collective. This pairing is both sensible and orderly.
——Leng Lin

Zhang Xiaogang started to create Bloodline: Big Family series from 1993 to 2008. From 2008 to 2012, he started his new series named Green Wall. Bloodline: Big Family series is one of Zhang’s most representative work. He relates his suppressed childhood to the special hisotry during the Great Cultural Revolution and rebuilds it for the present situation. The portrait of stylized figures reflects the collective memory and trauma in that special era. In Green Wall series, Zhang continues to explore the complicated relationship between individuals and society; however, different from the Bloodline: Big Family series, Zhang tries to express the existing environment and psychology status in certain designed space. This conceptualized space accommodates both commonality and individuality, revealing the grave tension between individual freedom and social norms.
On Green Wall series, Zhang said, “The concept of green wall was widely used early in the 1940s. Unlike ordinary families, walls of luxury places were usually decorated with green wood. After the founding of the P.R.C., green wall was a feature of both public spaces such as schools, hospital and government office and interior domestic decoration. It is interesting for me to see that the so-called individual space is the same with public space.” Apparently for Zhang Xiaogang, green wall represents an era. This ubiquitous signal in public buildings and ordinary families at that times means a cultural admonishment and obliteration of individuality to a certain extent. Zhang reexamines our cultural traditions in the contemporary open environments to insinuate cultural solitude and psychological loneliness through the lackluster indoor space.
Created in 2008, Green Wall: Military Uniform depicts a typical domestic décor during Great Cultural Revolution with dull furniture, a military coat on the sofa placed against the wall, wall with the lower part painted green, two dangling and uneven naked light bulbs, dropped power cord and light shedding on the sofa from the right, a feature also used in Bloodline series, which conveys a sense of history and distance. Light bulb and cord are recurring features in Zhang’s work. The motif of light bulb appeared in Amnesia and Memory No.21 in 2003 for the first time. Light cord symbolizes ties of blood and was first used in the Red Baby in 1993 and was continued in Bloodline series. In Zhang’s memory, his father liked sticking the cord in light base. The recurrent light cord is a symbol of his father. Although the layout of Green Wall: Military Uniform is simple, Zhang carefully integrates many details into the paining, a sofa lying sideways, a cutting line between military uniform and green wall being almost perpendicular to the light cord. A grid restrains the room within an unshakable order, reflecting the constraint of rigid social rules and norms as well as people’s anxiety and depression in that environment.