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Red: By Jiang JieHong,
This review is from: Red: The Chinese Cultural Revolution (Hardcover)
This is an extraordinary book that assesses and represents the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) in China through the medium of photograph. Many of the photographs included have never been seen in the West before and portray a Communist China bathed physically (and psychologically) in the colour 'Red'. Red - the colour of Mao Zedong Thought - directly influenced Chinese culture for a decade, and continues to influence (in different and unique ways) the direction of art in China.
The hardback (2010) edition contains 253 numbered pages and is comprised of an Introduction, a Conclusion and four distinct chapters:ion
No Destruction No Construct
The Red Sun
The Red Sea
The Red Art
List of Chinese Names
The author - Jiang Jie Hong - is a curator who travels regularly between China and Britain. He is a Reader in Chinese Visual Arts, and is the founder of the Centre for Chinese Visual Art at the Birmingham Institute of art and Design (Birmingham University). Jiang grew-up in Shanghai just after the end of the Cultural Revolution and in his narrative of that historical event, offers an important element of personal experience. The hundreds of colour and black and white photographs are beautifully reproduced in a clear and large format. Each photograph is meticulously referenced, dated, and explained. Between each photograph, or groups of photographs, Jiang presents a paragraph or two explaining events as they unfolded over the decade in question. Jiang explains that conventional art was attacked and destroyed, whilst the art of the masses took its place. This is because the social distinction between the old notion of an artist that distinguished him as something special and aloof from the masses, was removed for good, thus allowing every ordinary person to be an artist. An interesting book.