“We tend to forget our traditions. Chinese people pursue the latest trend. We don’t hold on to our memories.”
Born 1957, Tangshan, Hebei
Chang Xugong makes gaudy mockery of China’s nouveau riche using one of the country’s most venerable folk-art forms: embroidery. His silk-stitched pictures of beaming men, dressed in eye-popping colours and bursting from giant dollar bills, are parodies of old propaganda posters. In works like Dollar, Euro Series: Five Dollars (2003), these vulgar heirs of the Communist Revolution are presented without backgrounds, suggesting their total disconnection from their country’s traditions, its recent history, and their own past. Instead, they cling to the trappings of newfound wealth: motorbikes, mobile phones, fur coats and fluffy pets. In Embroidered Portrait Series No. 3 (2005), the artist depicts Presidents George W. Bush and Jiang Zemin in the same gaudy style, both dressed in identical mandarin jackets and guffawing dementedly amid flurries of cut-out cars and flowers.