Silkscreen print on paper

80 x 110.5 cm (31 1/2 x 43 1/2 in.)

Mao Zedong's stylised but recognisable silhouette stands out in red on the canvas’s white background, involved in very mundane occupations: smoking a cigarette and reading a newspaper.

This oil on canvas by Otto Muehl, best known for his happenings with ritual violence, recalls the aesthetics of 1968 posters and the silkscreen technique. It is surprising because of the subject’s great serenity. Instead of virulent political criticism, the portrait seems like a mere pretext for painting. With minor changes, the series that the artist created based on the same motif attests to this.

In the Pinault Collection along with other works by the same artist, Mao was presented during the 2009 major group show "Mapping the Studio" at the Punta della Dogana and Palazzo Grassi in Venice.