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Brothers in Arts

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
Miss Mao No.2. Painted fiberglass sculpture, 210x128x125cm, 2006
Standard Hair Style-Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao. Oil on canvas 300x385cm x 4, 2009
Mao's Guilt. Bronze sculpture, life-size, 2009
The Execution of Christ. Bronze sculpture, life-size, 2009
Miss Mao Trying to Poise Herself at the Top of Lenin's Head. Stainless steel scupture, 650x600x442cm, 2009
Double Portrait - Hitler. Oil on canvas, 300x400cm x2, 2007
Double Portrait - The Dalai Lama. Oil on canvas, 400 x 300cm x 2, 2010
Arresting Prostitute. Painted bronze sculpture, life-size, 2007
Three Narrations of the Death of Chinese Citizen Wang Qingbo. Oil on canvas, 300x400cm x 3, 2011
The Forever Unfinished Building No.4. 100x296cm, 2008
Goodbye Tiananmen. Photo, 120x150cm, 2007
Ghost Image - The Raft of the Medusa & Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989. Oil on canvas, 300x400cm, 2011
Ghost Image - Liberty Leading the People and the Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989. Oil on canvas, 300x400cm, 2011
Project of Borrowing the Statue of Liberty. 208x100cm, 2012
A New World of Nuclear Cloud Shape. Photo, 248x180cm, 2008

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