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Brothers in Arts


November 15, 2013

Evading Chinese censorship, the Gao Brothers challenge authority through sculpture, painting, performance, and photography.

Beijing-based artists Gao Qiang and Gao Zhen (born in the Shandong province of China) are known as the Gao Brothers. They have collaborated on projects in a wide variety of media including sculpture, painting, performance, and photography since 1985. Much of their work is inspired by their family’s experience during China’s 1966-1967 Cultural Revolution. In 1968, brothers’ father was arrested as a counter-revolutionary, and days later, died in custody.

The Gao Brothers’ work ranges from the political and satirical to questions of material and spiritual spaces, and takes a humanitarian stance that questions the role government and the individual play within contemporary Chinese society. They are not afraid to create controversial and contextually loaded works, such as “Arresting Prostitute.” Depicting Mao has played a central role in their career. The Chinese authorities frequently censor their exhibitions because they portray the wrongdoings of China’s past, in works like “Mao’s Guilt.” The Gao Brothers are in a constant game of cat and mouse to exhibit and show their art.

Samuel Jablon for Guernica

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Miss Mao No.2. Painted fiberglass sculpture, 210x128x125cm, 2006

https://www.guernicamag.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Standard-Hair-Style-Mao-ZedongDeng-XiaopingJiang-Zemin.Hu-Jintao.oil-on-canvas-300x385cm-x4-600x391.jpg
Standard Hair Style-Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao. Oil on canvas 300x385cm x 4, 2009

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Mao's Guilt. Bronze sculpture, life-size, 2009

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The Execution of Christ. Bronze sculpture, life-size, 2009

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Miss Mao Trying to Poise Herself at the Top of Lenin's Head. Stainless steel scupture, 650x600x442cm, 2009

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Double Portrait - Hitler. Oil on canvas, 300x400cm x2, 2007

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Double Portrait - The Dalai Lama. Oil on canvas, 400 x 300cm x 2, 2010

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Arresting Prostitute. Painted bronze sculpture, life-size, 2007

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Three Narrations of the Death of Chinese Citizen Wang Qingbo. Oil on canvas, 300x400cm x 3, 2011

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The Forever Unfinished Building No.4. 100x296cm, 2008

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Goodbye Tiananmen. Photo, 120x150cm, 2007

https://www.guernicamag.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Ghost-Image-The-Raft-of-the-Medusa-Tiananmen-Square-Protests-of-1989.-oil-on-canvas.-300x400cm-560x420.jpg
Ghost Image - The Raft of the Medusa & Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989. Oil on canvas, 300x400cm, 2011

https://www.guernicamag.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Ghost-Image-Liberty-Leading-the-People-and-the-Tiananmen-Square-Protests-of-1989.-oil-on-canvas-300x400cm-560x420.jpg
Ghost Image - Liberty Leading the People and the Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989. Oil on canvas, 300x400cm, 2011

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Project of Borrowing the Statue of Liberty. 208x100cm, 2012

https://www.guernicamag.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/A-New-World-of-Nuclear-Cloud-Shape-305x420.jpg
A New World of Nuclear Cloud Shape. Photo, 248x180cm, 2008

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