Zhan Wang was born in 1962 in Beijing where he continues to work until today. His creation has always found their roots in the Chinese scholar tradition, myths, religion and the profane life, yet out of this soil grew out works that depicts the total transformation of Chinese society, economics and culture since the 1990's. It is the narrative and mythical nature that makes his work so immediate and intimate in relation to the spectator.Read More
Zhan became known for his stainless-steel scholar's rocks in the 1990's. His artificial rock is the first Chinese contemporary sculpture to be collected by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He has realized his intention of internationalized and contemporized this ancient unique Chinese culture of rock appreciation.
Zhan has minted a new visual language that mythologizes China's 21st-century metamorphosis into a modern, gleaming stainless-steel society while holding on to its traditions. While he is said to be a conceptualist sculptor, he believes that concept cannot be formed without artistry; this idea reflects the pursuit for moderation (Zhongyong) in Chinese philosophy.
The process of creation, from discovery of the rocks to their meticulous replication, reflects ancient philosopher Laozi's notion that man cannot transcend nature. Working within nature's confines is what distinguishes Zhan's work from western sculptors who seek to transform nature to express them.
Zhans's work combines Taoist notions of illusion, reality, and nature with an existentialist embrace of the absurd. Much of his work can only be seen in photographs or videos because part of his concept is that some of the sculptures be permanently exhibited in unreachable destinations. Even though he started off as a sculptor, he continues to expand the form and aesthetic significance in his work for the past twenty years.
Text courtesy Eslite Gallery.
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