Five avant-garde patriots used a color palate primarily consisting of red to re-contextualize and reconfigure the visual meaning and texture of a memorial to Japanese settlers from World War II. The guerilla art collective set out from Beijing, and managed to avoid security guards with their paintbrushes, two buckets of red paint, and hammers (a simply bravura addition that should be included in every artist’s studio), before reaching the memorial sitting in a country park in Heilongjiang province’s Fangzheng county (方正县). By slathering red paint over the names of the deceased Japanese settlers carved in stone, the patriot-artists were referencing a dense hodgepodge of post-war art movements, including the great Neo-Dadaist Robert Raushcenberg’s seminal work, ‘Erased de Kooning Drawing’ (1953), chaotic paint-over collaborations between Basquiat and Warhol, Japanese action painting, and even the graffiti culture that sprang from the Hip-Hop ethos of 1980’s New York, a form rooted in rebelliousness that eventually turned into a general urban landscape white-noise that spread everywhere.
The collective clashed with police later on, as all true men ahead of their time are wont to do, and returned to Beijing after being briefly detained. The men argued that the Japanese settlers should not be memorialized, given their invader status. Only time will confer the inevitable generational genius status these five groundbreaking boundary-pushers truly deserve.
Photos from Tencent News