Poems by Mao Zedong

In the midst of the Cultural Revolution in China, soon followed by the May 1968 riots in France, Pierre Argillet brought the book of “Poems” by Mao Zedong to Dali. Tickled, the artist decided to create eight illustrations, some of which were political satires. The “Hundred Flowers” are shown as towering fleurs-de-lis, symbols of royalty, with people attempting to reach them. Crowns emerge from the “River of Plenty.” When Argillet asked Dali why his “Bust of Mao” was a headless Chinese uniform, Dali replied: “Well, the man is so tall that he didn’t fit on the page!”. – “And what about these small dancing “Demons?” – “To the Chinese, they are Japanese!”. The “Dragon” is a female monster, the “Three Mountains of Peace” are hardly larger than rocks, and the “Tortoise Mounts”, shown as gigantic, antediluvian animals, wander in the midst of excrements resembling the Yin and Yang symbol. As to the splendid ”Small Horses”, their pirouettes call to mind the Renaissance period, but also the longing for freedom.