Art, Architecture and Visual Culture

Polly Savage’s chapter examines Maoism in Mozambique. Drawing on interviews and archival records, the study focuses on the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (or FRELIMO). Between 1970 and 1977 FRELIMO negotiated an artistic and cultural agenda combining, not without difficulties, leftist internationalism and local traditions. The analysis of works produced by the graphic designer ‘Mphumo’ João Craveirinha Jr offers insightful perspectives on how these tensions materialised in images.

in Art, Global Maoism and the Chinese Cultural Revolution

Colette Gaiter’s chapter looks at the work of the American artist Emory Douglas, the Minister of Culture for the Black Panther party, which at the time was subscribing to a political tendency known as ‘intercommunalism’. More expansive than other strands of leftist thought, intercommunalism sought to unite countries of the world in resistance to global capitalism and imperialism. A wave of ‘Black Maoism’ swept through black liberation movements at this time and came to visual life in Emory Douglas’s work on the Black Panther newspaper.

in Art, Global Maoism and the Chinese Cultural Revolution

Simon Soon’s chapter discusses the development of leftist art discourses in Singapore and Indonesia by examining a selection of manifestos and texts alongside artworks. Close readings unearth oblique references to Talks at the Yan’an Forum on Literature and Art, which enabled artists to open new ways beyond the autonomy of art in the shadow of the 1955 Bandung conference.

in Art, Global Maoism and the Chinese Cultural Revolution
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Mao and visuality in twentieth-century India

Maoism in India is still very much alive, and in several areas Maoist guerrilla fighters continue to combat the Indian state. Sanjukta Sunderason’s chapter maps the traces of Mao and Maoism in India’s long twentieth century. Drawing from the visual culture theorist Nicholas Mirzoeff’s notion of visuality, Sunderason explores three key moments of Indian Maoism in relation to art: the iconography of resistance developed by the Communist Party of India in the 1940s, the Naxalites’ ‘statue-smashing’ in Calcutta in the early 1970s and the afterlives of Maoism in Indian art from the mid-1970s to the present.

in Art, Global Maoism and the Chinese Cultural Revolution
Drawings by Peruvian Shining Path war survivors

Anouk Guiné’s study is set against the background of the civil war between the Communist Party of Peru (PCP), also known as Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso), and the Peruvian state, a conflict that began in 1980 and lasted well into the 1990s. Relying also on interviews with detainees, Guiné engages with the depiction of the massacre that was produced by Maoist convicts. She discusses issues of memory, resistance, resilience and popular imagery.

in Art, Global Maoism and the Chinese Cultural Revolution
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The art of contradiction

Art and images were and continue to be central channels for the transnational circulation and reception of Maoism. While there are several books about the significance of Mao Zedong and the Chinese Cultural Revolution, this collection of seventeen essays constitutes the first effort to demonstrate the global influence of Maoism on art and images, from 1945 to the present. The Introduction explores the protean quality of this political phenomenon, especially when it crossed paths with, and was expressed through, the visual arts. After providing an overview of the contents and organisation of the chapters, which challenge the traditional geographies of art history, the Introduction states that collectively, the studies reveal that the cultural contradictions that are always present in art and art history research remain a powerful source of political social, and aesthetic transformation.

in Art, Global Maoism and the Chinese Cultural Revolution
Maoism, art and dissidence in Spain

Noemi de Haro-García’s chapter describes the short-lived group of militant artists La Familia Lavapiés in order to explore the implications of being an artist within a Maoist organisation during the last years of the Francoist dictatorship and the early years of the monarchy. The collective collaborated, but also argued, with political leaders, mass organisations, political parties (especially the Communist Party), workers, students, neighbours and, of course, other artists. Sympathetic to akolasía (ἀκράτεια, the absence of coercion) and Trotskyism, the members of La Familia Lavapiés saw art and Maoism as tools with which they unsuccessfully tried to challenge and transform the cultural and political milieu in which they carried out their activities.

in Art, Global Maoism and the Chinese Cultural Revolution
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Chinese representation at the Venice Biennale (1993–2003)

Estelle Bories’s chapter investigates the re-emergence of Chinese contemporary art in the West, concentrating on the way in which artists and curators addressed the revolutionary past of China. It considers Cai Guoqiang’s famous restaging of Rent Collection Courtyard, presented during the forty-eighth Biennale of Venice in 1999. The appearance of Chinese art at the Biennale occurred with much fanfare. While, on the one hand, this could be read as a point of departure and a new expression of Chinese modernity, on the other hand it could also be read as a repackaging of some standard Maoist positions on art.

in Art, Global Maoism and the Chinese Cultural Revolution
Daniel Dezeuze and China from scroll to (TV) screen

Sarah Wilson looks beyond the standard formalist readings of the artist Daniel Dezeuze’s work and follows his trajectory into the 1980s, when he participated in an official exchange visit to China; tracing the episode right up to the present, with the installation that Wilson proposed for the first Asian/fifth Guangzhou Triennale.

in Art, Global Maoism and the Chinese Cultural Revolution

Could one at once be a Maoist and poke fun at Mao’s cult? This is the central issue explored in Jacopo Galimberti’s chapter, which investigates aspects of Italian Maoism as they were played out in four publications: the hardline newspaper Servire il Popolo, the counter-cultural magazine Re Nudo, the intellectual periodical Che Fare and the fanzine A/traverso. By 1976 some Italian militants were advocating a new form of Maoism that conflated pop culture, autonomist Marxism, Gilles Deleuze’s and Félix Guattari’s philosophy and, last but not least, avant-garde art.

in Art, Global Maoism and the Chinese Cultural Revolution