Traditional Chinese ink painting techniques did not disappear from the representational visual world, but the subject matter was adapted to meet the requirements of a Peoples Art. Landscapes were peppered with signs of industrialisation, slogans and commune life, with red flags a commune symbol of new China.
The pi Lin pi kong yundong, 批林批孔运动 Criticise Lin Biao and Criticise Confucius campaign (1974) was a large scale national movement that reflected the philosophical position Mao adopted as a progressive thinker, opposed to the reactionary traditionalists. The Gang of Four, fashioned themselves as Legalists, claiming historical parallels with China's early history, whilst Liu Shaoqi and Zhou Enlai were cast as traditionalists. The movement was not strong enough in the eyes of the Gang of Four, but it came to an end when Deng Xiaoping took over Zhou Enlai's role in 1975.
The style from 1950's posters and even the Shanghai calender girl posters of the 1930's can still be seen in the 1970's. The calender girl artists brought their skills to propaganda art because of its popularity. The style was born as advertising, showing people and landscapes as happy and beautiful, projecting a clear message through bright colors and clear compositions. With an adjusted message this attractive form effectively held the gaze of the public. In the Cultural Revolution it was castigated as one of the '4 Olds' and its use was suspended.
Mao and Zhou Enlai both died in 1976 and a swathe of posters praising their lives were issued over the following years.
Occasionally the same poster was reissued in another province with a different slogan. This is one example. In Shanghai this image with the same credited artist appeared in 1973, with the slogan 'Actively supporting pig farming.'
Each entry includes a caption showing our translation of the original Chinese slogan. This is provided as a courtesy and whilst we aim for accuracy discrepancies may occur and alternative choices of words and grammar are always possible. If the precision of the translation is important to you we can provide on request the original Chinese characters where possible.
Each entry also includes the pinyin of the artists names that appear on the poster itself. Again we make every effort for accuracy but mistakes may occur.
Please email if you require more information.