'Milgram's Progress' is one of Cheung’s earliest works to deal with the conflictual multi-layered identity of contemporary China. In the centre of the painting’s lower section is an image of Stanley Milgram, the psychologist made famous for his experiment establishing the human tendency to obey authority, even when it threatens our morality. To the left of Milgram, a chain of figures are hauling a fishing net - the workers are appropriated from a Chinese propaganda poster, transformed by Cheung into uniform blue lemmings lacking individuality. To the top right, traditional Chinese landscape painting traditions clash with the towering spectacle of urban capitalist progress, analogous to the contradiction in the reformed political ideology that begun to emerge at the time of this painting’s creation.
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