Exhibition Opening − Erró: Mao‘s World Tour

Exhibition Opening − Erró: Mao‘s World Tour

The exhibition Erró: Mao‘s World Tour will be opened on Wednesday, 1 May at 17h00 in Reykjavík Art Museum - Hafnarhús. On the same occation Erró will grant a female artist with an award from his aunt‘s art fund. The mayor of reykjavík, Dagur B. Eggertsson, will opent he exhibition. Curator is Danielle Kvaran.

Erró was one of the first Western artists to adopt the legend and images of Mao Zedong. He began integrating pictures of the Chinese communist leader and his troops into some works from 1967–68. In 1972, he composed the Four Cities series that prefigured the Chinese Paintings series. These oil paintings, executed between 1974 and 1980 with the aid of professional Thai movie poster painters, tell the story of Chairman Mao as world conqueror, though in fact Mao only made two trips out of China, both times to attend the Communist Party Convention in Moscow. In Erró’s version, The Long March, undertaken by Mao and his communist troops in 1934–35 within China (368 days, 10,000 km), extends over the entire planet, and in particular in Europe and the United States, symbols of capitalism and imperialism.

Each Chinese painting, like most other paintings by Erró from 1964 onwards, is based on a preliminary collage. Mixing Chinese propaganda images with tourist pictures culled from postcards and travel brochures, Erró sends Mao and his followers on a triumphal procession through major cities and emblematic sites of the West. The staging and the presence of Mao in these various locations is an ironic reference to the wave of Maoism that seized groups of Western artists, intellectuals and politicians following the student riots in Paris in May 1968. The series subtly objectifies both the utopian dream of the future and the fear of the Chinese Cultural Revolution spreading around the world at that time.

The Chinese Paintings made Erró famous internationally. Since 1975, they have been exhibited in many cities, starting with Lucerne, Munich, Aachen, Rotterdam, Paris, New York, and Venice, with a spoof of Mao’s Little Red Book as a catalogue. The exhibition in Hafnarhús includes collages, paintings, lithographs, digital prints and posters from Reykjavík Art Museum’s own collection, as well as works on loan from the National Gallery of Iceland and private collectors.

Erró established the art fund in memory of his aunt, Guðmunda S. Kristinsdóttir. It is intended to promote and support women's art. This is the 20th time the grant is awarded. Previous artists that have been granted the fund are Ásdís Sif Gunnarsdóttir, Dodda Maggý, Elín Hansdóttir, Finna Birna Steinsson, Gabríela Friðriksdóttir, Guðný Rós Ingimarsdóttir, Guðrún Vera Hjartardóttir, Hekla Dögg Jónsdóttir, Hildigunnur Birgisdóttir, Hulda Stefánsdóttir, Katrín Sigurðardóttir, Margrét H. Blöndal, Ólöf Nordal, Ósk Vilhjálmsdóttir, Sara Björnsdóttir, Sara Riel, Sirra Sigrún Sigurðardóttir, Þóra Þórisdóttir and Þórdís Aðalsteinsdóttir.