Cornell University Search Cornell
Cui Jian
Du Zhenjun
Feng Mengbo
Li Xianting
Lin Yilin
Lu Shengzhong
Mou Sen
Song Dong
Song Yongping
Xing Danwen
Xu Bing
Yu Xiaofu
Zhang Dali
Zhou Shaobo
Chen Lingyang
Zhang Dali

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.