China and revolution: history, parody and memory in contemporary art

Exhibition dates: 8 August to 7 November 2010

From 1966-1976, China experienced the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR). This involved a series of extraordinary political events, which destroyed lives, stopped careers, defined language and aesthetics, and has been framed retrospectively as 10 years of chaos. For many Chinese individuals now aged over 40, the memory of those years and the knowledge of the effects that they had on their childhoods, adult relationships and career ambitions, are still acutely painful.

China and Revolution explores the relationship between poster art of the 1960s and 1970s, specifically the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, and contemporary artists whose work engages a conscious dialogue with that period.

There are four key contributors to the show: Li Dahong; Shen Jiawei; Xu Weixin; and Li Gongming; as well as original posters from the University of Westminster collection, and contextual materials on film.

This exhibition emphasises connective possibilities between past revolutions and the present, and between history, memory and forgetting. It is part of an Australian Research Council-funded research project which investigates how historical works are produced outside the pale of state approvals, and what educative, emotional and restorative functions this work might achieve for China and the new generations.