Zhan Wang is a contemporary Chinese artist. Primary, he is a sculptor; but also known in other art forms such as installations, photography and video. Many of his works include the use of simplistic object that serve a purpose of telling a complex idea.
Zhan’s art education started at an early age, from brush painting lessons by his grandfather and sketching lessons by his uncle, to the endless games of brick building (which foreshadowed his later urban landscape series).
He went to the Central Academy of Fine Arts, where he studied in the Sculpture Department. Zhan spent his entire college years in the atmosphere of the 85 New-Wave Movement. Between his Realist training at the Academy and the Modernist influences that came from exhibitions, conferences, and sensational events, Zhan started developing his own style.
Zhan’s pieces consist of conceptual ideas where he “embraces and subverts several other major traditions in modern art, both Chinese and Euro-American”. Many of his ideas that are expressed through his works pertain to Chinese culture. Zhan concentrates primarily on abstract forms, which he calls floating stones: large, highly textured rock-like pieces coated in chrome. They are also called mountain or scholar’s rocks. In the Chinese culture, the rock holds a high value; rocks have been thought to possess the purest qi, or vital energy, and collected as objects of art and tools of meditation.
In his 1990 Sidewalk series, Zhan tried to break from the sculptural tradition of depicting only religious or heroic figures, by choosing the most common people on the sidewalks as his subjects. He used painted resin as medium instead of the traditional monochrome bronze and marble, and covered these life-size sculptures with real clothes, before painting them.
Later, Zhan started experimenting on more Conceptual sculpture, producing a new series The Mao suit –he used a stiffening agent to permanently mold Mao suits into such shapes to imply a contorted body within.
The same idea of emphasizing the “shell,” instead of what’s underneath, was carried on in the artist’s most well-known series, Artificial rock, the first Chinese Contemporary sculpture to be collected by The Metropolitan Museum, and stimulated many performance pieces by the artist in the following years.
In 2004, Zhan scaled Mount Everest and placed one of his own sculptures at the summit. For his “On Gold Mountain” exhibition at the Asian Art Museum, located in San Francisco, in 2008, he used rocks selected from the foothills of the Sierra Nevada to create his sculptures, alluding to the nineteenth-century Chinese immigrant experience of mining gold during the California gold rush.
Zhan now lives and works in Beijing.
|2014||The 12th National Art Exhibition - Experimental Art||Today Art Museum, Beijing||Group|
|2014||Right Is Wrong: Four Decades of Chinese Art from the M+ Sigg Collection||Bildmuseet, Umeå||Group|
|2014||Fundamental Abstraction III||Haines Gallery, San Francisco, CA||Group|
|2013||Zhan Wang - Interactive Perspectives: Contemporary Art Exhibition Across the Taiwan Straits 2013||Long March Space, Beijing||Solo|
|2013||Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China||The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, NY||Group|
|2013||Pure Views||Chengdu Museum of Contemporary Art MoCA, Chengdu, Sichuan||Group|
|2013||Passage to History: 20 Years of La Biennale di Venezia and Chinese Contemporary Art||Arsenale di Venezia, Venice||Group|
|2012||Form Of The Formless||Long March Space, Beijing||Solo|
|2012||Future Pass World Exhibition||Today Art Museum, Beijing||Group|
|2012||Art for the Masses||Hua Gallery, London||Group|
|2012||Future Pass||National Taiwan Museum of Art, Taichung||Group|
|2012||Vertical||Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo||Group|
|2011||Zhan Wang : My Personal Universe||UCCA - Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing||Solo|
|2011||On Site: Zhan Wang||Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI||Solo|
|2011||Future Pass||Wereldmuseum, Rotterdam||Group|
|2011||Collecting History: China New Art||Chengdu Museum of Contemporary Art MoCA, Chengdu, Sichuan||Group|
|2011||Fabricator||Soka Art Center - Beijing, Beijing||Group|
|2011||Art Re: Art||Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, MA||Group|
|2011||Spring Group||Long March Space, Beijing||Group|
|2010||Looking Exhibition||Eslite Gallery, Taipei||Solo|
|2010||The Power From Academy - Cafa Contemporary Art Exhibition||Guangdong Times Museum, Guangzhou, Guangdong||Group|
|2010||Clouds：Power of Asian Contemporary Art||Soka Art Center - Beijing, Beijing||Group|
|2009||LandMark||Haines Gallery, San Francisco, CA||Group|
|2008||Zhan Wang: Gold Mountai||Haines Gallery, San Francisco, CA||Solo|
|2008||Garden Utopia||National Art Museum of China - NAMOC, Beijing||Solo|
|2008||On Gold Mountain - Sculptures from the Sierra by Zhan Wang||Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA||Solo|
|2008||Material Terrain||Haines Gallery, San Francisco, CA||Group|
|2008||New World Order - Contemporary Installation Art and Photography from China||Groninger Museum, Groningen||Group|
|2007||Artificial Rock||Urban Art, Seoul||Solo|
|2007||China Under Construction - Contemporary Art from the People's Republic||Deborah Colton Gallery, Houston, TX||Group|
|2007||The Quiet Gesture: Recent Chinese Art||The Newark Museum, Newark, NJ||Group|
|2007||Temptations||The Columns, Seoul||Group|
|2006||Zhan Wang - Urban Landscape||Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, MA||Solo|
|2006||Invisible Threads||Madelyn Jordon Fine Art, Scarsdale, NY||Group|
|2006||Building Code Violations||Long March Space, Beijing||Group|
|2006||Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China||Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin||Group|
|2005||Zhan Wang - Flowers in the Mirror||Hanart TZ Gallery, Hong Kong||Solo|
|2005||The Elegance of Silence Contemporary Art From East Asia||Mori Art Museum, Tokyo||Group|
|2005||The New Long March Space Inaugural Exhibition||Long March Space, Beijing||Group|