Zhang Ding, ‘Next’, 2010, ShanghART

About Zhang Ding

“Most Chinese artists have a rational approach toward the making of artworks,” says Zhang Ding. “I thought that if I just followed my feelings then my work would be different; or at least more real.” In his large-scale mixed-media installations, often incorporating video and interactive components, Zhang explores ethnic tensions, the plight of migrant workers, and marginal urban culture that lurk in the recesses of Chinese society. For example, the installation Tools (2007) contained video depicting a cactus and man’s various attempts to breach its thorny defense structure, often violently. A metaphor for the marginalized who must rely on dogged determination to survive; ultimately it is water, a seemingly benign substance, that vanquishes the plant. Zhang is influenced by the fantastical style of Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini.

Chinese, b. 1980, Gansu Province, China, based in Shanghai, China