China’s Corrupt Communists in the Frame for Graft
The installation by the Beijing-based contemporary artist, Zhang Bingjian, aims to confront viewers with portraits of the jailed officials all painted in the crimson red of China largest denomination 100 yuan banknote.
In a capitalist twist the works were commissioned from an ‘art factory’ in Shenzhen where artists are paid to paint cheap knock-offs of Western art for sale abroad.
The offenders’ crimes and sentences are stamped on the side of the canvases using official ‘chops’, or seals, which are symbol of authority in China.
Mr Zhang said he hoped to demonstrate Chinese society increasingly lacked moral compass.
“I was watching the television news during the National People’s Congress last year and heard that more than 3,000 corrupt officials had been prosecuted in the previous year and I was shocked. I had no idea we had so many corrupted officials,” he said. “Later that night I was watching the NBA basketball which was talking about the ‘Hall of Fame’ and a connection just went off in my mind. The piece just grew from that thought.”