Born Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, 1962. Lives and works in Beijing
Qi Zhilong pioneered Political Pop art in China with his kitschy, Warholesque take on socialist realism. He is best known for a series of portraits of lovely young women dressed in the military uniforms of the Maoist era. Though several of his subjects are in fact fashion models and actresses, they are unnamed; they are also depicted at a scale once reserved for the portraits of Mao and other leaders. At first glance the pictures are merely pretty, but the mix of heroic dimensions and humble rank, celebrity-style close-up and personal anonymity, chic beauty and drab uniformity reflect the multiple contradictions of recent Chinese history.