(Chinese, B. 1956)
Opened Green Scissors
signed and titled in Chinese; dated '2008. 4'; inscribed '100 x 130 cm' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
99 x 129.6 cm. (39 x 51 1/8 in.)
Painted in 2008
Gallery Artside, Seoul, Korea
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Brought to you by

Eric Chang
Eric Chang

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Lot Essay

"South Western Art Research Group" was one of the important organizations in the development of contemporary Chinese art. During the period of "85 New Wave" art movement, when a new trend of thought was rapidly blooming, Mao Xuhui, who is one of the Group founders, joined his fellows Zhang Xiaogang, Pan Dehai, Ye Yongqing and others to initiate an art reform with "New image" as slogan, asserting on the fact that the purpose of painting is to express one's spirit, they organized a total of four self-subsidized group exhibition events at the period when exhibitions were state dominated.

Mao started his oil painting series Scissors in 1994. Scissors, as an ordinary item in our everyday life, carries no narrative implication; however, at the artist's early stage of exploration, he tried to place the pair of scissors in different settings, such as a Western style house, a sofa and a chair, to establish a variety of connections and significance. Being a kind of sharp weapon, scissors is naturally associated with dissection and separation, and thus evokes feelings of being threatened and harmed. It is this intense imagination connecting scissors to its control over other's body which explains the causality between the Scissor series, as a comprehensive visual symbol, the artist's previous Parent series, which is a representation of power and control. The abstract figure and the high back chair in Parent series form a shape that resembles the altar of Western religions. They confront the audience to a throne of power, symbolizing absolute dignity and extreme oppression; actions leading to worshiping or succumbing to power can be easily found under the "patriarchal system" prevailing in the Chinese family and political culture. Stepping from Parent to Scissors represents Mao's transition in the symbol of power, and the sublimation of ordinary reality. Whether the pair of scissors is open or closed, upright or inverted, the artist sets it against evenly painted background and matches it with different tones, as if it is a model wearing different facial expressions, sad, speechless, angry or anxious, reflecting the activities in the artist's heart. As Mao personifies the pair of scissors, it weighs far beyond an ordinary object and becomes an embodiment of the artist's pursuit for the truth of life.

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