Born in 1932, Erro is contemporary of the worldwide acceleration of the circulation of images and in parallel, of their depreciation, their devaluation. His painting has this special power to be immediately recognizable, after he used all the subterfuges to force images to combine with one another.
He studied visual arts and mostly painting at the Beaux-Arts in Reykjavík and in oslo from 1949 to 1952, then he studied the mosaic at the Beaux-Arts in Florence in 1955. First of all, he specialized in the technique of cut paper before devoting himself to the mosaic. He moved in Paris in 1958 and met the artists of the surrealist movement.
Thus he launched Viet Cong fighters to attack the domestic spaces of the "American way of life" where they indubitably break in, certainly as conquerors, but remaining intruders, often glimpsed through a window or even swiftly crossing the living room without lingering there. Mao may have been the first statesman of the media era substituting the dissemination of his image for any real presence, the "cult of personality" imposing its avatars in the four corners of an empire of ten million square kilometers. Thus, Erro chose this character as a subject for his "Chinese Paintings", composed and painted between 1967 and 1974.
With an implacable poetic lucidity, he exposes the tourist view of the West, but systematically returned to the background, Mao and his troops standing front stage, sometimes even posing as undisputed victors triumphantly disembarking at New York Harbor (In Front of New York), feasting in a desert Oslo (Big Breakfast in Oslo) or in Picadilly, standing guard before Saint Peter's in Rome (The Guardian of the Vatican) or even ostensibly invading the frame in front of a smug couple sipping a brandy against the background of the Empire State Building (The New York Office).
The "Chinese Paintings" occupy a place of capital importance. Firmly settled upon the "irony point" of this singular approach, of which it is a major merit, they radically update contemporary methods of pictoral expression by working out a novel form of nonliteral visual language "wherein what is said differs from what is signified".