BOOK LIVES: Party: Quotations from Chairman Mao Tsetong by Cristina De Middel

Party: Quotations from Chairman Mao Tsetong
by Cristina de Middel

RM/Archive of Modern Conflict
978-8415118671

Using words from Mao’s Little Red Book and ‘ideologies’ appropriated, Spanish photographer Cristina de Middel has come up with a volume that is totally witty and entertaining at the same time.

By redacting what are unnecessary/unimportant to her, she reduces some very convoluted messages into very simple ones. She then pairs passages with her photographs, and in so doing, she takes liberty in giving entirely new meanings to the Communist bible.

These pairings are often cynical and open to interpretations. I doubt it is her intention to be authoritative in any ways. If anything, it is an open invitation from her to everyone to question.

It never fails to amaze me how far photographers like de Middel are willing to stretch their crazy imaginations and I am grateful that they don’t ever stop pumping out such gems. It’s no wonder that Magnum can’t resist her.