Book Painting No.26 (Karl Blossfeldt. Wunder in der Natur, H. Schmidt and C. Günther, Leipzig, 1942, Page 115), Acrylic on Canvas, 32.5 × 24 cm, 2019, Private Collection

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Geng Jianyi, Eternal Rays of The Sun, Oil on canvas, 195×133cm×5, 1992

Eternal Rays of the Sun series were works Geng Jianyi has prepared specifically for the 1993 Venice Biennale. The work may seem to embody the “political pop” style, when in fact the artist’s emphasis was not to highlight the red, bright and glorious background of the Cultural Revolution and its representation of the farmers, worker, and soldiers class. Instead, it concealed a visual game where the center of each painting consists of the shifting foci of the group photograph on the backside of the 5 yuan bill. As if these paintings are five fixed frames of an animation, the radiant background could thus be taken out of the political myth and be restored to its initial impetus in visual design. In this sense, this work was meant to disenchant, rather than creating a myth to demystify, it confronted the experiences of a time through an individual’s everyday sentiments, this was the ingenuity Geng Jianyi has preserved throughout his lifetime.

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