oil on canvas
220 x 400 cm
Song Yongping’s series of history paintings, New China (2012-16), extends his manner of painting in the 1990s, when he was identified as a member of the ‘Xin Fushihui’ (‘New Floating World’) group. Depicting the impact of economic reforms on China, through imagery of ordinary people caught up in public events, he satirised the divergence between political slogans and the choices faced by everyday citizens, even to the point of recording taboo subjects such as sex workers operating out of karaoke bars in Taiyuan. Like Japanese ukiyo-e ‘Floating World’ artists, Song Yongping was closely observing and faithfully recording his society. But the New China series contains bleaker and more satirical observations, often dealing with politically sensitive imagery. The titles of works in the series, such as Enter the New Age (2013-16) and Utopia (2013-15) indicate Song Yongping’s sardonic intention.