Color etching and aquatint
Support: Chine collé on wove paper
Sheet: 92.5 x 72.6 cm (36 7/16 x 28 9/16 in.); Platemark: 71 x 62 cm (27 15/16 x 24 7/16 in.)
Gift of Judith and James A. Saks 2005.257
In traditional paintings by the scholar-painter, the essential private garden often includes fields for growing crops. This archetypal detail signifies the ideal of a rural life of self reliance and finds its root in the poem “Return Home” by Tao Qian (AD 365–427), which depicts withdrawal from officialdom into a free and humble life in the countryside.
Ji Yun-Fei’s contemporary work points to the disappearance of ideals replaced by failed revolutionary ideologies in modern Chinese history. In this painting, the rural setting becomes a stage set for human exploitation of Mother Earth and depletion of natural resources under the Communist propaganda of producing “more, faster, better, and cheaper” during the Great Leap Forward (1958–1961).
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