Zhang Wenzhi creates collagesque ink paintings which interweave Chinese modern history, folklore, popular science, and archival materials. Using his hometown as an entry point, Zhang spotlights the convoluted history of Northeast China, particularly the period dating to the late Qing Dynasty, delineating the repercussions of the past in the present. The region was once exploited by various colonial powers before undergoing rapid urbanization, leaving it in a collective state of amnesia. Zhang depicts spirit animals and mythological creatures, including the Deer god, pointing to the prominence of shamanism in Northeast China. They become metaphoric of life and prosperity in a place once subjected to trauma and constant shifts in power. In Zhang’s paintings, these auspicious creatures are juxtaposed against a vast landscape where historical and mythological motifs are nestled within industrial infrastructures, bearing witness to the region’s ever-unfolding changes and complex historical tapestry.
Zhang obtained his BA in Fine Arts in 2015, and MFA in 2018 from the Central Academy of Fine Arts. His solo exhibitions include “Zhang Wenzhi: The Northern Hills”, “Zhang Wenzhi: Alice’s Natural History Museum”, and “Zhang Wenzhi: The Journal of The Black Dragon” at ART LABOR (Shanghai, 2022, 2020, and 2019). He previously participated in group exhibitions at Garry Culture Center (Beijing, 2020), “Anren Biennale” in Anren Old Town (Sichuan, 2019), Dongguan Culture Center (Guangdong, 2018), Guardian Art Center (Beijing, 2018), Chambers Fine Art (Beijing, 2017), National Agricultural Exhibition Center (Beijing, 2016) and CAFA Art Museum (Beijing, 2016).
Zhang Wenzhi currently lives and works in Beijing.