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The Day Before I Went Away

Guo Jian, 30 sec, Australia, 2004. Digital Video

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Produced and Directed by: Guo Jian
Photographer: Diana Panuccio
Subtitles: Ludivine Cicolella
Production Company: RGB Pictures
RGB: Producer: Nathan Wellington
RGB Creative Director: Adrian King
RGB Art Director/Compositor: Dylan Yeo
Music: Starwin Record Company - The Story of Spring 'Full Moon'
Thanks: Alexie Glass, Gav Barbey, Guo Min, Jia Jia, Skye Wagner, Shang Quan, Tammy Wong
SBS Independent: Commissioning Editor: Glenys Rowe
ACMI: Executive Producer: Clare Stewart
ACMI: Production Manager: Philippa Campey
© Guo Jian

ARTV: produced with the assistance of ACMI and SBS Independent


Guo Jian's saucy and sinister reappropriation of Chinese propaganda painting techniques is heightened by this animation of his allegorical work The Day Before I Went Away.

Biography - Guo Jian

Born 1963 Guizhou, China; lives and works in Sydney.

Guo Jian entered the People's Liberation Army in 1979 as a squad leader and army artist. After retiring he worked as a propaganda artist in a government transportation company. In 1985 he began studying traditional Chinese art at the Central Minorities Institute, Beijing, and graduated in 1989 after the Tiananmen Square massacre. As punishment for his involvement in the hunger strike, he was sent to work in a domestic goods factory. Rejecting this, he began working independently amongst the Yuan Ming Yuan community of artists, immigrating to Australia in 1992. He has held six solo exhibitions and numerous group exhibitions. He is represented by Ray Hughes Gallery, Sydney.

Artist Statement - Guo Jian

'For this work I have animated a painting from my most recent body of work. It depicts a beautiful Chinese army entertainer singing to soldiers before they go to war. In the foreground a soldier is squeezing a fat pig. To emphasise the comparison between the beautiful woman (fantasy) and the pig (reality), the pig makes squealing noises when it is squeezed by the soldier. Towards the end of the 30 seconds, a moment is focused on the soldier singing one word, and winking. The resulting message would be like the ironic propaganda message: "the lucky life of the lucky fighting soldier".'

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