Erró

Love letter from Mao

Date: 1974

Technique: Collage on paper

Dimensions: 54,3 x 30 cm.

Es Baluard Museu d'Art Modern i Contemporani de Palma, donation of the artist

Not on display

Love Letter from Mao is the title of this small-format collage produced by Erró in 1974. He resorts to existing images, which he appropriates as he does in the rest of his work; in this case, he uses the canvas De liefdesbrief (The Love Letter), painted in around 1669-1670 by Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, as a base for his work.The artist intervenes in this domestic scene in a tone that is ironical but also critical: whilst in the original, the lady receives a letter from her beloved from the hands of her maidservant, Erró reinterprets it by replacing the lover with the figure of Mao Zedong, the political leader who was the founder of the People’s Republic of China and a symbol of communism. To do so, he uses an exact reproduction of the original work, making only one intervention – at the back of the room where the scene takes place, Erró replaces a seapiece, a symbol of the absent lover (in the 17th century the sea and boats referred to love and lovers) with the portrait of Mao. The allusions to the figure of Mao were the object of another group of paintings, also produced in 1974: the “Tableaux chinois” (Chinese paintings) series, in which, on the base of Maoist propaganda posters of the time, he shows Mao represented in prominent places around the Western world, such as Manhattan, the Piazza San Marco, or the White House.

Artist biography