- Last Updated on Monday, 05 March 2012 12:14
Exhibition: Representing labor in Chinese propaganda posters, a Toronto exhibition 6 March-21 April 2012 examines the portrayal of workers in Chinese propaganda posters.
The exhibition at the University of Toronto Art Center is curated by Elizabeth Parke. The worker, along with the peasant and the soldier ( gong, nong, bing 工农兵), is an exemplary class figure celebrated in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) Communist state mythology.
This exhibition of 16 posters from the Mark Gaynvcollection at the University of Toronto’s Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library examines representations of the worker to reconsider the toiling body in Chinese artistic production and to illuminate how ideas of work are mobilized in the name of nation building.
The exhibition also reveals additional interpretations of work within the context of our global contemporary, says an exhibition notice. The work being done in the posters is physically strenuous, visible in the bulging muscles, grimacing faces, and oversized bodies. The products being manufactured—iron, machinery—are also weighty and physical. In contrast, dematerialized capital, the least physical of substances, lubricates today’s globalization. The disparity between the tactile and corporeal nature of work in the posters and the illusory behavior of today’s late capitalism asks viewers to consider what is at stake in depicting work, labour, and a workforce.