Klein Sun Gallery is pleased to present Square, a solo exhibition of new sculptures, cyanotypes, and paintings by Zhang Dali on view from June 26 through August 30, 2014.
The name of the exhibition, "Square," is a reference to Tiananmen Square. It highlights the energy, significance, and power of a place that Zhang Dali refers to as “holy” and "brimming with bright light." Widely known throughout The People’s Republic, the Square stands as one of the most significant landmarks in the country. In this exhibition, Zhang Dali's abstraction of Tiananmen acts as a capturing of the holiness he finds there.
The sculptures in the series are pristine white fiberglass casts of migrant Chinese workers in their everyday clothing. Attached, above and amongst these free-standing casts, are flying and resting doves also cast in white fiberglass. The scene that the sculptures craft could be plucked directly out of Tiananmen Square, with one major exception—doves are nowhere to be found in this city center. These scenes are imagined and Zhang Dali can only dream of seeing doves in Tiananmen. The free-flying birds represent the artist’s resolve to reconstruct what Tiananmen symbolizes—wishing it was a place where thoughts, desires for the future, and an individual’s resolve are free to soar.
Square - Sketch is a group of paintings that were initially created solely as an outline for Zhang Dali to explore his desire to create the aforementioned body of sculptures. At the top of a sky-blue background, there are images of doves and disconnected human heads which reveal a blunt expression of the pain and simultaneous hope that underpin Zhang Dali's thoughts of Tiananmen Square. The complex and unexpected relationship shared between these ideas—decapitated heads, jovial movements of bodies, sky blue backgrounds, and doves—elevates these paintings past their initial existence as sketches and towards the refined form of expression found throughout Zhang Dali’s work.
The cyanotypes included in the show, which incorporate ink and are also made with traditional Chinese rice paper, lure what appear to be graceful spirits. The white impressions of birds in flight are the shadows of doves, captured using a 150-year-old photographic chemical process. The blue of the background on which these white spirits fly, encourages viewers to see hope in the work, as it looks as if the birds travel through a clear sky. The crinkled rice paper and blotches of ink interrupt this pure hope and juxtapose not only Chinese tradition, but the reality that imperfections accompany hope in the heart of China that is, Tiananmen.
Zhang Dali was born in Harbin, China in 1963, and earned his Bachelors in Fine Arts from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. His work has been exhibited in museum shows around the world including recent exhibitions "Il Sogno Proibito della Nuova Cina," Palazzo Inghilterra, Turin (2009); "Zhang Dali: A Second History," Guangdong Museum of Art (2010); "Zhang Dali: A Second History," Les Rencontres d'Arles, 41st Edition (2010); "The Original Copy: Photography of a Sculpture, 1839 to Today," MoMA, New York (2010); The 54th Venice Biennale (June, 2011); "New Photography 2011," MoMA, New York (2011); “Faking It: Manipulating Photography Before Photoshop,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY (2012); FUCK OFF 2,” The Groniger Museum, Groningen, The Netherlands (2013); “Voice of the Unseen: Chinese Independent Art 1797/Today,” Arsenale Nord, Venice, Italy (2013); and "Incarnations,” Institut Confucius des Pays de la Loire d’Angers, Angers (2013).
Zhang Dali currently lives and works in Beijing, China.
For additional information please contact Ysabelle Cheung at 212.255.4388 or Ysabelle@kleinsungallery.com.