Tian Taiquan, Totem Recollection 3, 2007. © Tian Taiquan

Tian Taiquan , Totem Recollection 3

Year: 2007
Medium: Colour C-Print
Dimensions: 60 x 185cm
Brief biography: b. 1960, China. Lives and works in Chongqing, China

 Tian Taiquan’s tumultuous experience growing up during China’s Cultural Revolution serves as the impetus for his photography. “My practice,” Tian says, “is a way for me to heal and release the gloominess of my memories.” His works are allegorical scenes with many allusions to the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda. Although the works are the result of elaborate staging and post-process editing, Tian does not plan ahead for his compositions but rather improvises his photographic manipulations. In fact, he likens taking photographs to brainstorming ideas with unexpected surprises—and though his images are based on historical events, Tian considers himself as much a surrealist as a realist, citing Salvador Dalí as a central influence’. Source: https://www.artsy.net/artist/tian-taiquan 

 Totem Recollection 3, 2007, presents a near-lifesize female figure partially dressed in the green uniform of the Chinese Communist Party. The figure is shown lying in a sea of red and silver badges (or buttons) depicting Chairman Mao. The image evokes the suffering of those who experienced the Cultural Revolution, and the ways in which individual identity was drowned in a sea of propaganda. In the contrast between the erotic pale flesh of the figure and the incessant, overwhelming figure of Mao, Tain evokes the experiences of a generation of people, whose youth and energy was curtailed according to the demands of the Party. Although her chest is exposed, the woman covers her face with her hand, conveying, perhaps, a desire to lay bare her identity while ever conscious of the need for self-censorship.  

 The Cultural Revolution was an age of madness when females were completely masculinised with a phony propaganda appearance. I use the female nude to reveal basic physical and material desires, mocking the imprisonment of humanity that occurred during the Cultural Revolution when people were arbitrarily killed for random reasons. No respect was paid to human dignity, human rights, or life. The liveliness and sacredness of human life is a topic I seek to express through the depiction of female nudes in my work.  Source: Interview with artist Tian Taiquan with OCULA magazine https://ocula.com/magazine/conversations/ tian-taiquan/  

 Tian graduated in 1988 from the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute. Exhibitions include: Perspectives, Art Plural Gallery, Singapore (2015); Tian Taiquan: Memory of Time, Hayward Fine Art, Brisbane, Australia (2013); Totem Recollection Tian Taiquan Photographic Exhibition, Hong Kong, (2012); 7010 – Life After People, Chongqing, China (2010). 


Gallery representing artist: