MAO ZEDONG
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MAO ZEDONG
This topic will be focussing on " President Mao" personnality cult through the incredible production of icons, the incredible propaganda developped in China and abroad during more thirty years. We will try to explain why and how this unique phenomenon took place. I would like to extend and to systemize my different works on Mao, mainly the last one, a book called "Le Mao" ("The Mao"), published with Guy Gallice, photographer and himself, like me, Mao collector ( Editions du Rouergue, France, 2009). This topic will be definitely historical, critical - Mao was responsible for millions and millions of dead people - and open to art, propaganda pop art and contemporary art as well. There will be visual documents, films extracts, articles, in english and in french.
Curated by HUDELOT Claude
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"LE MAO", how it works...

"LE MAO", how it works... | MAO ZEDONG | Scoop.it
I intend to feed this Mao topic with as many sources as possible, for this reason, Scoop.it should be perfect, hoping that "followers" will help me, of course. As most of you don't know "Le Mao" ( The Mao), I will for a while try to summarize the sixteen chapters of the book, and I will show some symbolic icons, most of them having been shooted by the co-author of "Le Mao", my friend Guy Gallice.

Before the 16 chapters, the opening's title is: "Do you love Mao?" (In french, "aimer" means to love or to like). This first text points out the identification of China, from 1949 till 1976, to one man, one face, reproduced billions of times through books - the famous Little Red Book - photos, paintings, posters, walls, medals, porcelains, carpets, tea pots...
This cult can be only compared to a first one, twenty centuries before, the one of the famous Emperor Qing Shi Huangdi.who unified Middle Kingdom...

Like his predecessor, Mao unified the "18 provinces". But soon, the so called "People Republic of China" became a nightmare of millions of people, with the terrible "campaigns", the 100 Flowers, the Great Leap Forward and its 30 millions dead. And then, the "Cultural Revolution".

However, to the question "Do you love Mao?", most of the Chinese are answering: "yes!", and they automatically add, repeating Deng Xiaoping stupid statement, that 70% of Mao action was good, and 30% was bad. If you mention for example that during the Great Leap Forward cannibalism was in several provinces - Anhui, Henan, Sichuan - , they will not believe you. The young generations ignore totally what happened during these "black years". Because the Power dit its best, during the last thirty years, to eradicate this past and because many, many people are still ashamed. This History is not taught at school or very little.

In USSR, they had their "destanilization". In China, they was not any "demaoisation". Great Leap Forward, Cultural Revolution are still taboos.

Who knows? Looking at what's now happening in Tunisia or in Egypt, there is not only a hope that this "omerta" will, a day or another, be broken but too that democracy will remove for ever the dictatorship of the Chinese Communist Party. It is the only way for memory to come back before it is too late. The sooner the better.

For the opening of "Le Mao", we used this striking picture of Weng Naiqiang taken on Tian An Men in august 1966 during Cultural Revolution. President Mao is greeting Red Guards crowd, with Lin Biao and Zhou Enlai.

In "Le Mao", we are showing the works of seven important photographers: Wu Yinxian, Xu Xiaobing, Hou Bo ( Mao's official photographer), Xiao Zhuang, Li Zhensheng, Weng Naiqiang and Wang Tong.

PS. I will try to give at least an article every day, searching for more and more informations...when I will more familiar with this technique!
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"Mao, the life, the legend"

"Mao, the life, the legend" | MAO ZEDONG | Scoop.it
In 2000, Larousse asked to join a collection called "La vie, la légende", (The Life, the Legend), with Mao of course. The second part, The Legend, led me to Mao's Cult and Iconography....By the way, I forgot to tell you that since 1987 - I was then working for french national tv, Antenne 2, shooting in China with cameraman Christian Hirou 13 stories about the 13th Chinese Communist Party Congress for the News - I began to collect Mao and cultural revolution statues, medals, posters, pins, porcelains, and so on. A collection I really started in Beijing, between 1991 and 1994, when I was Cultural Attaché at the French Embassy...Hundreds, and then thousands of pieces. I began to look carefully to them and to understand the maoist codes...
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"LE MAO", like La bible, "The Bible"...

"LE MAO", like La bible,  "The Bible"... | MAO ZEDONG | Scoop.it
As you saw the cover of my first book, "La Longue Marche", two remarks:
the two directors of this prestigious collection, in which the most important french Historians wrote books, were Pierre Nora, now "de l'Académie Française", and Jacques Revel, still now I believe Director of THE historical review, Les Annales.

The second remark is about the cover: as I mentionned in the book, this photo was taken later the Long March which happened between october 1934 and 1935. Behind him, you may guess Jiang Qing, his wife...She was removed of the picture at the end of Cultural Revolution because she was part of the famous Gang of Four!

Here is the cover of "Le Mao". This title is a kind of joke. We use the article "Le" to emphasize the topic and say "La Bible", "The Bible", or "Le Larousse", the famous dictionary. "Le Mao" is a huge "Red Book" on Mao Cult, through icons and 16 chapters...Unfortunately not yet translated into English, with some hopes for a Chinese translation...
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"Hou Bo, Xu Xiaobing, Mao's Photographers", a film!

"Hou Bo, Xu Xiaobing, Mao's Photographers", a film! | MAO ZEDONG | Scoop.it
In 2002, I was lucky enough to meet Hou Bo, President Mao only official photographer from 1949 till 1962, and her husband, Xu Xiaobing, who had been taking photos of Mao early in the thirties at Yan'an, and then became a propaganda film maker, to-gether with his master, himself a great photographer, Wu Yinxian. I knew him quite well: he was the guest of Honor of Arles Photo Festival - les Rencontres d'Arles - in 1988, when I was the Director of this huge event, dedicated that year, thanks to photographer Karl Kugel, to China, a world event.

Back to Hou Bo and Xu Xiaobing, because I knew Wu Yinxian and because they were eager to tell their incredible life, the accepted the film we shooted on them with Jean-Michel Vecchiet, the very talented documentary director. Through our research, through the testimony of Hou Bo and Xu Xiaobing, I became more and more aware of the propaganda system built for the Personnality Cult. The film, produced by a small production company, "La Citrouille", was co-produced and released by France 2 and France 5 for the opening of the Year of China in France. It was first shown in Arles Photo Festival, Les Rencontres d'Arles, thanks to its Director, François Hebel. Since then, our film has been shown more than 40 times in France and in Europe. After this film, as I was moving again to China - I became again Cultural Attaché, in Shanghaï, during the China / French Years - I felt that may be China Contemporary History could be written from another point of view, that is to say, not only from the texts, declarations, written books, but also from the pictures, the icons produced during more than 30 years to the glory of Mao....Here we are!
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"The Long March towards Modern China"

"The  Long March towards Modern China" | MAO ZEDONG | Scoop.it
To give you more landmarks before we really start our topic: here the cover of my second book on Mao. In 1985, I was asked by Gallimard to write a less scholar and more illustrated small book on the Long March, called "La Longue Marche vers la Chine moderne", "The Long March towards Modern China" for a new collection "Découvertes", which became cult within a few years, thanks to its inventor, Pierre Marchand. A second milestone on the road...
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Editor's Corner

Editor's Corner | MAO ZEDONG | Scoop.it
This topic will be based mainly on research I did since exactly fourty years on Mao Zedong, since I wrote my first book, "Le Longue Marche" ( The Long March), published by Gallimard in Archives collection. (1971). With my last look, "Le Mao" ( The Mao), published by Editions du Rouergue with photographer Guy Gallice in 2009, I looped the loop, focusing mainly on Personnality Cult, Mao propaganda, through some 800 pictures and icons of all sorts, which nothing compare to reality.

So my purpose with this topic is to show much more, pictures, posters, paintings, art, and of course propaganda films, giving I hope some keys.
This topic should be very open to other. Furthermore, I would like to build, during the next months and years, a kind of data bank. As you may know, one of the biggest problem of China to-day being that the memory of this terrible era is disappearing, because Chinese Power wants it to be eradicated. Mao topic on Scoop.it could be a drop in the ocean...But let us try!
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