Zhang Guangtian

Zhang Guangtian
b. 1966, Shanghai
Musician, playwright, culture critic
Zhang Guangtian is an independent musician, critic, playwright, director and poet. His art is highly politicized and controversial, and while many praise him for his idealism, there are others who accuse him of being a radical Maoist and nationalist. Through much of his art, he actively engages in social criticism. His art conveys his sympathy for the common people as well as his view that there is a continuing need for revolution to correct the social injustices brought about by Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms. Because of these views, he is often referred to as a member of the New Left. Another major theme in his art and written articles is the resistance to Americanization and the promulgation of pride in China’s traditional culture, with particular emphasis on folk music.
Zhang spent four years at the Shanghai College of Chinese Medicine (1982–6). In 1986 he was sentenced to three years of re-education through labour for political and moral misconduct.
In the early 1990s he moved to Beijing. Since then he has released several albums and has composed music for numerous plays, TV series and films, including Zhang Yimou’s Shanghai Triad. Zhang has also published numerous articles, mainly on popular music. His diverse artistic activity reached a peak between 2000 and 2002. During this period he wrote, composed and directed a series of four experimental plays, integrating his diverse talents and political views. These were: Che Guevara (Qie-Gewala, co-directed with Shen Lin, Huang Jisu and Wang Huiqing); Mr Lu Xun (Lu Xun xiansheng), Red Star Beauty (Hongxing meinü) and Sage Confucius (Shengren Kongzi).
Wang, Abby (2002). ‘Minstrel, Confucian, Scholar, Poet’. City Weekend (7 February). Available at http://www.cityweekend.com

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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