Kunming, China born 1958
Bloodline (Two Comrades with red baby)
Materials & Technique: paintings, oil on canvas
This is a painting by Chinese artist Zhang Xiaogang (b.1958) depicting two parents and a child. The painting is shown as an enlargeable image. Text onscreen gives information about the context and intention of the work of art, critical of the one-child policy in China, as well as a comprehensive visual analysis, explaining the symbolism of the red tone, the baby girl and the stark family portrayal. The painting measures 150.0 cm high x 180.0 cm wide and was painted with oil on canvas.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
This painting by internationally acclaimed Chinese artist, Zhang Xiaogang, depicts two parents and a child. The formal portraits of the adults are based on photographs of the artist’s own family from the 1920s. Painted in red tones, the naked baby girl is in stark contrast, giving the impression that she is at odds with the past and her parents’ generation. Only thin red umbilical cords – bloodlines – link the family together.
While the bloodline of Chinese families was traditionally an extended one, the one-child policy has resulted in the growing importance of the nuclear family. Through the symbolism of the ubiquitous grey uniform of the era, Zhang alludes to the deep sense of alienation and loss of individuality experienced in China during the time of Mao Zedong and the Cultural Revolution.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2011
From: Asian gallery extended display label