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Wang Ziwei (Chinese, b.1963)
LOT ID: 66212
Hopeless, 2007

Acrylic, on canvas
82.75 х 71 in. (210.18 x 180.34 cm.)
Signed, titled, and dated, 'Wang Ziwei Hopeless 2007', verso
Lot description
For over two decades, Wang Ziwei has produced ‘Political Pop’ paintings featuring the image of Mao integrated with familiar representations from Western Pop Art. Many of the works in this series resemble the cartoon paintings of Roy Lichtenstein and bear the title ‘Hopeless’, which is borrowed from Lichtenstein’s 1963 painting of the same name that depicts a dejected woman thinking, “That’s the way it should have begun! But it’s hopeless!” Removing the words but maintaining the same hopeless sentiment, Ziwei inserts the portrait of Mao into the thought bubble and applies it to his work. In this 2007 ‘Hopeless’ painting, Ziwei re-imagines Lichtenstein’s 1963 painting, ‘In the Car’, and alters the moment of chilly silence visualized by Lichtenstein with the comic book bubble with a Warhol styled Mao that springs from the scene, almost shouting, “Hopeless!”

After graduating from the Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts in 1983, Wang Ziwei (b.1963) worked as a designer for the Nanfang Advertising agency, where he saw how easily images could be manipulated to promote the ideas and opinions. During this time, Ziwei began work on his painting series that assimilated the infamous portrait of Mao with Western Pop art images, which consequently established the political leader in an entirely new context filled with colorful cartoons and Pop icons. His cheery portrayals of Mao helped launch a Pop art movement in China that was centered on political imagery. His paintings have been included in major exhibitions put on by Cuba Museo Nacional de Bellas Arts, Havana, Cuba (2009); The State Tretyajov Gallery, Moscow, Russia (2007); Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK (1999); and the San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA (1997).
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