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Kiefer travelled in China in 1993, and some years later made a series of paintings based on photographs taken there. The title refers to a 1957 speech in which Mao encouraged greater freedom of expression, declaring ‘Let a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend’. This freedom was short-lived, as the intellectuals who criticised Mao were swiftly arrested. Kiefer portrays a statue of Mao partially obscured by dried roses and tangled brambles symbolising the profusion and withering of revolutionary dreams.