Zhang Wang


Zhang Wang
b. 1962, Beijing
Sculptor, installation artist
Zhang Wang graduated in 1981 from the Academy of Applied Arts (Gongyi meishu xueyuan) in Beijing and in 1988 from the Department of Sculpture of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, where he now teaches. Zhang Wang’s oeuvre acting is in close interchange with its cultural and physical space of production, intervening in the relentless flow of changes affecting urban spaces and functioning as a commentary on the artificial and awkward position seemingly assigned to traditional cultural values in contemporary China.
In 1994 Zhang produced a performance, Ruin Cleaning Project, in which he set out to temporarily clean and refurbish the ruins of an old building during a pause in its demolition process. This act functioned as a response to his sense of personal helplessness in the face of the irreversible process of urban modernization.
Zhang’s most famous series, Jiashanshi [Artificial Mountain Stones]—begun in 1995—employs the classic topos of the scholar’s rock, embossed from the real stones now decoratively displayed in the streets of Beijing. The shiny, reflective rocks thus produced are then repositioned in public spaces where they explicitly comment on the artificial redeployment of traditional motifs, now so ubiquitous in the cultural and visual sphere of China’s cities.
Zhang Wang has taken part in numerous exhibitions both in China and overseas, such as the ‘Kongling Kong Seduction Series’, a solo exhibition at the Gallery of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing (1994); ‘Crack in the Continent’ at the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo; and the travelling exhibition ‘Cities on the Move’ in Vienna (1997).
Dal Lago, Francesca (2000). ‘Space and Public: Site Specificity in Beijing’. Art Journal (Spring): 75–87.
Erickson, Britta (2001). ‘Material Illusion: Adrift with the Conceptual Sculptor Zhan Wang’. Art Journal (Summer): 72–81.
Wu, Hung (1998). ‘Ruins, Fragmentation, and the Chinese Modern/Postmodern’. In Gao Minglu (ed), Inside Out: New Chinese Art. Berkeley: University of California Press.
FRANCESCA DAL LAGO

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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