Updated: Friday, 7th August 2020 @ 1:30pm

Chinese Maoist propaganda in Northern Quarter art gallery exhibition

Chinese Maoist propaganda in Northern Quarter art gallery exhibition

By Charlie Bennett

Chinese propaganda art from the Maoist era is being displayed in a Manchester city centre art gallery’s exclusive exhibition.

The Richard Goodall Gallery, on High Street in the Northern Quarter, is displaying the Maoist propaganda art until 7 April.

The collection of 30 art-works were produced from 1969 to one year after Deng Xiaoping’s incumbency in 1979, but some are representations of older eras as far back as the establishment of the People’s Republic in 1949.

To walk into the Gallery is to see the entire history of Chinese Communism documented all around you.

Gallery owner Richard Goodall says he’s been fascinated by the posters for ‘years and years’, even going so far as to enquire at the Chinese Embassy.

He got in touch with a Shanghai client who came to the UK to promote an upcoming exhibition in London.

“We have enlisted the help and expertise help and expertise of the finest art restorer in the country to remove the foxing and acid from the paper [and] having them linen backed which made them archivally safe and virtually as vibrant as the day they were printed,” Mr Goodall said.

The ‘Great Helmsman’ himself, Mao Zedong, features prominently in the selection. The Chinese peoples pictured also brandish the Little Red Book in an expected motif, though what surprises is how these characters all appear to be so cheerful.

Whereas the most iconic Soviet propaganda had steely-eyed spanner-wielders bursting forth in geometric worlds to signify Marx’s materialism, many of the Chinese posters on display have a nostalgic and rural tone that suggests strength in traditional values. Paradoxically, such values were stamped out during Mao’s Cultural Revolution of 1966-76.

Even their space race poster ‘Take the Space Shuttle to Travel in the Universe’ (1979) has a buoyant quality found lacking in the Soviets’ self-serious modernism, due in no small part to the poster’s inclusion of five children and a puppy riding the quaint rocket ship.

This is the first time these works have been exhibited in the UK. A larger exhibition is planned for the Victoria and Albert Museum in London next year.

All of Goodall’s paintings are for sale, prices ranging from £500-£1500.

For more information visit http://www.richardgoodallgallery.com/contemporaryart/

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