Erró: Mao’s World Tour
Erró was one of the first Western artists to adopt the legend and images of Mao Zedong. Between 1972 and 1980, Erró painted the series Chinese Paintings, over 130 paintings which tell the story of a great leader who travels around the world. Each painting, like most other paintings by Erró from 1964 onwards, is based on a collage where Erró matches two images of different origins against each other: Chinese propaganda posters and Western tourist pictures from famous places. Erró pictures Chairman Mao and his comrades on a triumphant tour around the world, but in reality Mao only made two trips out of China, both times to attend the Communist Party Convention in Moscow. The series Chinese Paintings is fiction, where the staging and the presence of Mao in various locations is a sarcastic reference to the wave of Maoism which seized groups of Western artists, intellectuals and politicians following the student riots in Paris in May 1968. The series objectifies both the utopian dream of the future and the fear of the Chinese Cultural Revolution spreading around the world.
The Chinese Paintings made Erró famous internationally. The exhibition in Hafnarhús contains paintings, collages and engravings from the Reykjavík Art Museum’s collection.