Andy Warhol finally arrived in a communist China on October 31, 1982, a country and culture which had captivated him for over a decade. Finally setting eyes on the huge portrait of Chairman Mao in Tiananmen Square which had fascinated him since 1972, and a world homogenized by years of communism. The prince of Pop Art was now surrounded by a real-life vision of the multiplicity he had spent his whole career creating and he immediately set about documenting it all.
The exhibition at RedHouse Originals marks the first time these unique photographs will go on public display since their unveiling in Hong Kong.
“I like this better than our culture. It’s simpler. I love all the blue clothes. Everyone wearing blue. I like to wear the same thing every day.”
Warhol had been invited to China by young businessman, Alfred Siu, who had commissioned him to create portraits of Princess Diana and Prince Charles for his new members club ‘The I Club’ located in what is now the the Bank of America in Hong Kong. Expecting a trip fuelled by discos and dinners, he was surprised when Siu suggested he take a trip to Beijing and explore the two cities and the culture which had only recently been opened to the West. The trip that was said to have had a profound effect on the artist, the images show Warhol as a tourist and have been referred to his ‘Instagram’.
“It was a Warholian experience. Here’s the guy that did the Campbell’s soup can – he was all about the multiplicity of things – and here was a whole lifestyle based on that idea.”
Christopher Makos, Warhol’s close friend and personal photographer
The photographs in the exhibition are available to purchase. For availability and pricing please contact the gallery here.
All works were printed directly after Warhol’s trip in 1982 and each is a unique silver gelatin print on heavy photographic paper.
They feature the ‘Andy Warhol’ blindstamp credit in the margin. They are also initialled ‘T.J.H.’ by Timothy J. Hunt of the Andy Warhol Foundation in pencil, with the estate copyright credit reproduction limitation and date stamps on the verso.
Each photograph is accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity signed in ink by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc and a copy of the ‘Warhol In China’ hardback book, with foreword by Ai Weiwei.