The naked Chinese migrant workers were dangling on hooks and ropes from a ceiling in north-east Beijing until a few months ago, when they were bundled up in bubble wrap, crammed into a container and shipped off to London.
They are not desperate Chinese peasants seeking illegal entry into the UK. Far from it. Their arrival in Britain is part of a cultural invasion, paid for by the UK’s most famous art collector, and signalling a surge of interest in Chinese sculpture, painting and photography.
The life-sized resin figures are the work of Zhang Dali (Âº†Â§ßÂäõ), one of China’s leading artists. To highlight the role played by countryside labourers in his country’s rapid urbanisation, Zhang took casts of 100 of them, substituted numbers for their names, signed the figures and offered them for sale like pieces of meat hung in a window….[Full Text]