The characters in They are the ordinary people in real life – they carry out all kinds of mundane activities in public venues. In Zhang’s images, these ordinary people become the protagonists in the scenes they occupy, often seemingly departing from reality and entering a performance state. These images perhaps reveal some loss of balance and normality caused by the rapid development of modern Chinese society.
“Each of them has their own ordinary life … yet in the images they appear bizarre and absurd, as if they belong to another planet and are completely unique,” Zhang Xiao said. Apart from its documentary nature, They also reflects the artist’s strong subjective point of view about contemporary life in China: kitschy, absurd, surreal and humorous.