“When thinking of art and culture, Chinese artists are confronted with two contexts and histories, both indigenous and Western.”
Born Nantong, Jiangsu, 1973 and 1974
Having grown up during the upheavals of the late 1980s—which saw China open up to both capitalism and the West—Zhu Yiqing and Xue Yongjun take a far greater interest in political issues than most younger artists do. Looking for a medium to express the collision between Chinese culture and the West, they chose the traditional Chinese seal, or chop. This serves at once as a simple colour stamp, a denoter of social status, and a counterpart of the pixels on a computer screen. In reconstructing familiar images, from national flags to the Mona Lisa, with thousands of specially carved and individually placed chop stamps, the artists seek “to express the process of cultural collision, shatter and melting.” The rippling banners of Made in China: Chinese Flag and Made in China: American Flag (2009), and Audrey Hepburn’s face in Made in China: Clone Idol (2009) are made up of brand logos. In mocking both America’s identification with consumer goods and Chinese consumers’ lust for them, the artists suggest that the two cultures are drawing closer together, bound by mutual appreciation of the Western lifestyle.