Zhang Peili, ‘Where There is Life’, 2015, Rén Space

About Zhang Peili

Considered the father of video art in China, Zhang Peili has been producing incisive, internationally acclaimed works since the 1980s, building a career that ushered in and encompasses the entire history of Chinese video art. Keenly critical of his country’s authoritarian leadership, he sees his work as a form of protest revealing the forces shaping Chinese society and the lives of its citizens. Inspired by the endurance-testing videos of artists like Andy Warhol and Bruce Nauman, Zhang uses mundane, repetitive actions and scenes to demonstrate the absurdity and destructiveness of ritualized behavior and social norms. 30 x 30 (1988), his first video work, is an intentionally excruciating three-hour loop of a pair of gloved hands shattering a mirror, then piecing it back together—an acerbic critique of the rage for watching television, yet another form of thought-control in China.

Chinese, b. 1957, Hangzhou, China, based in Hangzhou, China