Born 1981, Baishan, Jilin

People have “a kind of prejudice towards history and traditions,” Guo Ling believes. To explore this prejudice, she paints European-style buildings of the colonial era. The ones in Prejudice No. 10 and Prejudice No. 11 (2008) are banks; others include railway stations, government office buildings and stores. These buildings convey an image of power, the artist says, but it’s an image slanted by the viewer’s cultural background. For Westerners, the architectural style is perhaps just viewed as beautiful, nostalgic and historical; for Chinese people it bears silent testimony to a period of colonial humiliation.  The slanted aspect of the buildings’ façades is a kind of metaphor, she says: the Chinese word for ‘prejudice’ or ‘bias’ is pian jian, which literally means ’tilt and see’.  She wants to remind people that they view China’s past from the same “biased angle” as they are viewing its monuments.

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