The Culture of the Cultural Revolution exhibition

Client: Weltmuseum Wien
Location: Vienna / Austria 
Year: 2011 
Supervision: Horst Campman


Personality Cult and Political Design in Mao’s China
Every-day objects and the many different forms of political propaganda from the decade between 1966 and 1976 form the focus of this exhibition curated by Helmut Opletal, a former ORF journalist and a renowned expert on China. It is a period marked by mass rallies, the Red Guards and an almost religious personality cult as well as the political persecution of intellectuals and disgraced politicians. The Chinese Cultural Revolution had two faces: the search for an egalitarian and ideal society on the one hand, and the inhuman political campaigns and the destruction of irreplaceable cultural heritage on the other. The exhibition takes a critical look at this contradictory chapter in Chinese contemporary history and every-day culture. The objects on show include everything from Mao-pins to sculptures, posters and photographic documents to every-day objects decorated with images of Mao and other propaganda designs that once pervaded Chinese culture. Many of the objects on show come from the Opletal Collection which was acquired by the Museum in 2005. It is augmented by other collections and new acquisitions by the Museum, as well as private loans (among them from the Sigg Collection of Chinese avant-garde).