Zhou Yan Contemporary Chinese Art Archive 周彦当代中国艺术档案





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Project on Paper


Ink on Paper


2.15 x 1.72m


These three images belong to the artist’s “Made in China” series. There are many similarities tying these images together: the facial expressions of the cartoons are overly exaggerated; the images themselves are equal in size; each image features a slogan utilized by the CCP (in Chinese); and there is a barcode on the upper left corner of each image. In the first piece, the artist repurposes the phrase 一路88 '奔'小康, meaning to become wealthy. "88" refers to "getting rich" because the pronunciation of 8 and "发“ from ”发财", literally meaning to get rich, have similar pronunciations in Cantonese. However, the character 奔 is written incorrectly on the poster, suggesting satire. In the second image, the phrase "走中国特色的社会主义", meaning "Take a Road of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics' is repurposed. In the picture, Jiang Zemin, the president of China during the series’ production, is conducting a choir of homogenous female faces. The third and last image features a group of seated men with a variety of exaggerated facial expression. The slogan used in this picture is "千秋伟业代代相传" (Great Achievements For Thousands of Years), another politicized phrase used by the CCP. The barcodes in contrast to the communist slogans may be a response to the advancing commercialism of Chinese goods in the 1990s. The linking phrase “Made in China”, which is attached to products produced in the country for domestic and global export, also points to this idea of commodification. The skin complexions and race-specific features of the characters depicted in these works may also point to increasing globalization. However, the original images were likely in color. As a series, this project aligns with the Political Pop movement that emerged in China during the early nineties. For more about Political Pop, see Yan Zhou's "A History of Contemporary Chinese Art: 1949 to Present" (2020), pp. 272-278. (Nicole Wang ‘26).



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