Neue Burg (an ethnology museum) in Vienna is hosting “The Culture of the Cultural Revolution – Personality Cult and Political Design in Mao’s China.” The exhibition will be running until 21 November 2011 and was made possible by the research of an Austrian sinologist, Helmut Opletal.
The museum currently occupies one of the wings of the Hofburg Palace and aims to present a critical analysis of propaganda and the personality cult of Mao Zedong during the troubled years of the Cultural Revolution (1966 – 1976).
In 1966, Mao launched the Cultural Revolution. This period entrenched the power of the Communist leader, who incited young people to carry out his instructions. The revolution consisted of eradicating traditional values, divided into four sectors: traditional ideas, culture, customs and habits. Thousands of sculptures and temples (mostly Buddhist) were destroyed.
Helmut Opletal, now a journalist at O.R.F. (Austrian public radio and television services) collected thousands of objects during his studies in Beijing in the 1960’s. His collection is now the unique testimony to this period and is completed by new acquisitions by the museum, as well as private loans, such as the avant-garde works of the famous collector Uli Sigg.
The exhibition includes sculptures, posters, photographic documents, thousands of badges and videos. These works highlight the personality of Mao and the gripping events of the period.