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Galerie Sommerlath

" I am a Mexican" Pop Art Portrait of a Man in Amsterdam by Shao Qi

" I am a Mexican" Pop Art Portrait of a Man in Amsterdam by Shao Qi

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In contemporary art's diverse and infinitely complex world, many works serve as vehicles for thoughts, statements, and emotions. SHAO QI, a Chinese artist born in 1987 in Shanghai, blends political, cultural, and aesthetic elements in her lithographic work titled "I am Mexican." This piece, limited to fifty copies and numbered 21/50 in pencil, dated 2011, transcends the materiality of art to explore societal palimpsests and interrogate notions of identity and globalization.

The dynamic confrontation of colors, particularly the dichotomy of red and black, is essential. The radiant luminescence of red contrasts sharply with the ultimate absorption of black, framing the piece in a colorimetric standoff reminiscent of vintage propaganda posters. Red, the color of revolution and power, passion and vitality, mingles with black, the shade of shadow and void, embodying the potential for new beginnings, as French artist William Klein once proclaimed.

SHAO QI employs a stylistic language that is instilled with almost raw expressiveness. The bold black strokes outlining the figure are reminiscent of Shepard Fairey's work under the OBEY signature. These black lines convey a vibrancy and primal force akin to Russian constructivist posters, loading the artwork with a declarative aura.

In the background, an Amsterdam detail map reveals the iconic Damrak, a bustling street connecting the main railway station to Dam Square and the Royal Palace.

The central figure merges ethnical attire from disparate traditions. The deliberate choice of ambiguity, such as the straw hat from ancient Chinese rice fields juxtaposed with the archetypal Mexican sombrero, blurs cultural lines. Square sunglasses further obfuscate the image, masking the eyes with opaque black hearts and transplanting the portrait into pop imagery.

The phrase "I am a Mexican"(written in Chinese at the bottom of the lithograph) is a provocative assertion that activates a narrative spanning continents. Mexico, geographically opposite Southeast Asia, becomes both an identity claim and a desire to dissolve boundaries between people. Subtly, the Damrak in Amsterdam adds another geographical layer and focal point.

"I am a Mexican" by SHAO QI harmonizes and contests identity and interculturality within a creative fervor. At the intersection of personal expression and public engagement, art becomes not just commentary but a central actor in negotiating and shaping the ideals of a universal "us."

*** BIO ***
Shao Qi is a distinguished Chinese artist known for her unique approach to visual communication. She graduated in 2011 from East China Normal University in Shanghai, specializing in image communication. Shao Qi's career has been marked by numerous significant exhibitions. In 2012, she showcased her work at the Los Angeles World Exhibition, the Shanghai City Art Fair, and the Australian Art Fair, where she held solo exhibitions that solidified her reputation in the art world. The previous year, she participated in the Shanghai Youth Art Exhibition and had a solo exhibition at the Shanghai Art Fair. In 2010, Shao Qi's work was featured at the Saint-Andéen Biennale in France and in "The Age of Jelly" exhibitions in Lyon, France, and Basel, Switzerland. She also held a solo exhibition at the Shanghai Spring Art Salon that same year. Her earlier achievements include participation in the 2009 "Exhibition of Innovative Art Design Works by University Students" at the Shanghai Art Fair and "The Second Animation Aesthetic Biennale" at the Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art. Shao Qi's talent was recognized early in her life, with her work appearing in the 1998 "Sakura" Sino-Japanese Painting Competition, the 1997 2nd "International Aviation Painting Competition," and international children's painting exhibitions in the Netherlands and India in 1994. Shao Qi's artistic journey reflects her consistent ability to engage and inspire through her thought-provoking and visually striking works.

PERIOD: 2010-
CONDITION: Excellent
MEASUREMENTS: Height: 37.25" Width: 25.25" Depth: 0.88"
MATERIAL: Lithograph

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