NEW YORK (April 1, 2019) — The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is excited to announce that internationally acclaimed Chinese dissident artists, the Gao Brothers, will be joining the 2019 Oslo Freedom Forum as part of our Art in Protest program.
The Gao Brothers are bringing their highly provocative sculpture, “Miss Mao Trying to Poise Herself at the Top of Lenin’s Head,” which they will dramatically smash into pieces on May 28th at 6:30 p.m. in Skippersuppa park in the center of Oslo, as a demonstration against totalitarianism. The 21-foot tall sculpture is part of a series that features Mao Zedong, titled Miss Mao. The polished stainless steel Miss Mao is portrayed as a child with a Pinocchio-nose and female anatomy, delicately balancing on the head of Vladimir Lenin, the Russian revolutionary whose monumental ideas of socialism profoundly influenced Chinese political history. This sculpture was one of the most important works in a Gao Brothers solo exhibition at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in 2010. It attracted much attention while being exhibited at the Vancouver Biennale and in front of ACE Museum in Los Angeles.
In the same evening, the Gao Brothers will be conducting a second performance: “Utopia of the Embrace,” a transformative public performance art project rooted in the belief that love can reclaim humanity. The performance will gather 200 strangers in embrace and be accompanied by specially curated music. The first 15 minutes will be spent by having strangers embrace as pairs before culminating in a collective embrace for the remaining five minutes. “Utopia of the Embrace” began in 2000 in China where it continued to appear in various public locations across the country. It has since been held in other parts of the world, including the U.S., various cities in Europe, Japan, and Singapore.
The Gao Brothers are based in Beijing and New York. Gao Zhen and Gao Qiang have been on the vanguard of contemporary art in China, collaborating on paintings, installations, performances, sculptures, photography and pieces of writing since 1985. It was not until 2003 that they were allowed to leave the China, following years of being on an official blacklist that had barred them from receiving external passports. Since 2003, with numerous exhibitions having been shown internationally, the Gao Brothers have traveled around the world, gaining critical accolades for their socially progressive, conceptually anchored and aesthetically diverse art. They have shown in private and been featured in museum collections, including the Centre Georges Pompidou, the China National Museum, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Princeton University Art Museum, Kemper Museum Of Contemporary Art, as well as by noted collectors such as Charles Saatchi and Steven Cohen, and many more.
The two performances will begin at 6:30 p.m. May 28 in Spikersuppa Park in the center of Oslo.
The Art in Protest program is HRF’s answer to the repression of creativity that authoritarian regimes impose. Dictatorships are built on misinformation meant to confuse and pacify their populations. Art can provide a vehicle for protest that targets this deception at its core, through an emotional immediacy that penetrates deeper than official statements or demonstra-
tions. Recognizing the transformative potential of art, HRF has established the first program to support dissident artists around the world. By giving these individuals a broader platform for their work, we can help them make a lasting impact in the global struggle against authoritarianism.
The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies. For more information on Art in Protest and sponsorship opportunities, please contact [email protected]. For media requests, please contact [email protected].
The 2019 Oslo Freedom Forum will take place from May 27 – 29. Click here for more information and to register to attend.