ZHANG Dali (???) (Born 1963)
A Harbin-native, Zhang Dali graduated from Central
Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Beijing in 1987. Commonly viewed as
a graffiti artist, Zhang Dali’s intention throughout his body of work
is to call attention to the changes taking place in Chinese society
primarily due to the destruction of long standing communities. He wants
to enter into a dialogue with his compatriots whom he sees as becoming
increasingly estranged as the drive towards modernization continues.
His 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 by 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.