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Asian Artists to Watch 2024: Vivien Zhang

Asian Artists to Watch 2024: Vivien Zhang

Each year, we identify the Asian artists on the rise, shining a light on the exciting and provocative works enriching the region’s artistic and cultural landscape. Chinese artist Vivien Zhang shares her story.

Beijing-born Vivien Zhang had a multicultural upbringing, moving first to Kenya and then to Thailand before settling in the UK. It’s through this lens of globalism and the breaking down of walls and borders that Zhang presents a cultural and geographical fluidity in her paintings, questioning the ever-changing, expanding and encompassing nature of contemporary culture and the paradoxes presented by this technological information age. Her work collates motifs from both personal and collective shared experiences and draws from a diaspora of cultures and contexts, the contrasts and collisions creating a novel experience where new interpretations are formed.

“I think about my work as a place of assemblage, of different references, sources and influences. And so I’ve definitely seen things from my formative years, and things I’ve seen coming together, colliding together in a space,” Zhang reflects. “I’ve always been interested in technology and how that affects us. But I think in the pandemic I started to feel its limitations. For example, not being able to find a vaccine straight away made me think about how limited we actually are in our knowledge of the world.”

“I also think as a Chinese person during that period, I felt very strongly about this polarisation happening in the world,” she adds. “We’re not really cooperating. We’re shutting down into our own bubbles. Because of the pandemic I felt very overt discrimination. So when the Black Lives Matter movement happened and people came together in solidarity against fake news and the suppressive voices of discrimination, I made a painting called Peril, for which I used a tiger motif that was used in the ‘Yellow Peril Supports Black Power’ slogan poster. The tiger symbolises the Asian community, whereas a panther symbolises black power, so I’ve used this in my work to confront these issues a bit more head on.”

See our Art Basel Hong Kong coverage here.

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Source: Prestige Online

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