Zhang Xiaogang makes art that is as much about himself as it is about China’s past.
July 23, 2017
Big Family, 2003
Relying on memory to recreate a highly personal version of his country’s history, Zhang Xiaogang makes art that is as much about himself as it is about China’s past.
Lost Dreams Series No. 9, 2013
The grim imaginary families in his “Bloodlines: The Big Family” paintings of the 1990s and his 2005–06 series of grisaille portraits in oil reveal countless narratives about the aspirations and failures of the Cultural Revolution as well as Zhang’s own emotions. Like the blank visages of the individuals in these paintings, Zhang’s brass and concrete sculptures of figures, as well as implements used for recording history (such as fountain pens, notebooks, and light bulbs, all 2009), appear compressed and distorted by memory, age, and some unknown force.