Stern Pissarro Gallery
A Harbin-native born in 1963, Zhang Dali graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Beijing in 1987. Known primarily as a graffiti artist, Zhang Dali's intention throughout his oeuvre is to call attention to the changes taking place in Chinese society, at the expense and destruction of longstanding communities. Dali seeks to enter into a dialogue with his fellow Chinese, who he views as growing increasingly alienated in the unending drive toward modernisation. Dali’s early graffiti work can still be seen all over the Chinese capital. His signature outline of a human head was found, among other places, on traditional courtyard houses marked for demolition. The artist called this graffiti work ‘Dialogue’ and documented it in photography.
Zhang Dali's newest creations are portraits of migrant workers' faces and resin casts of their heads or entire bodies. The migrant worker is a new class of Chinese citizen, a product of the 'modernization' or globalization of China's urban structure. They are the fringes of society. Zhang Dali paints their portraits using one of his very early graffiti marks, AK47. The anonymous but very individual faces are built up by the repetition of the mark, itself recognizable as an international weapon of violence. The resin casts of the heads are called "100 Chinese" while the bodies are called "Chinese Offspring". Both give an identity to these individuals who are indeed Chinese offspring, artistic and veritable creations of new China.
Zhang Dali has exhibited at museums and galleries worldwide, including the Saatchi Gallery in London, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing.