Zhang Xiaogang’s series of paintings, Bloodline, is a strange, surreal, and haunting collection of family portraits. As a Chinese artist who was young during the Cultural Revolution of the 60s and 70s, Zhang has a complicated relationship with his own national history. The paintings of Bloodline are not photorealistic portraits; rather, they are constructions coming from within his mind, returning to these memories and feelings decades later. This essay examines Big Family No. 3, a painting for this series done in 1995, exploring the influences and processes that contributed to its creation. It argues that this work in particular reflects on the Cultural Revolution, the artist relying on his own memories and retrospection to create a picture of an idealized family.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.