Zhang Peili

Zhang Peili
b. 1957, Hangzhou
Oil, conceptual and video artist
Zhang Peili is a pioneer of Chinese video art and one of its most acclaimed practitioners. He is currently Director of the New Media Art Centre at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou. In 1984 Zhang Peili graduated from the oil painting department of the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts, later renamed the China Academy of Art (Zhongguo meishu xueyuan). He organized and participated in the exhibition ‘85 New Space’ (85 Xin kongjian), which developed out of the Youth Art Group (Qingnian chuangzuoshe) that was established in 1984 and comprised graduates from the Academy. He was also a founding member of the Pond Society (Chishe, 1986–7), which was responsible for a series of significant art events, happenings and installations in Hangzhou.
His early works were oil paintings inspired by daily life and urban modernization, rendered in a cool, analytical style described as ‘grey humour’ (huise youmo). Since the late 1980s, Zhang Peili has created a series of multi-media works concerned with language, communication and the absurd. He has focused primarily on video art, favouring it as a popular medium that also provides access to the dimensions of movement, sound and time. Zhang Peili’s video works are conceived as installations. He often takes banal events and transforms them into highly stylized meditations on society. Since the early 1990s, Zhang Peili has participated in many important international art exhibitions. His works have been collected by institutions in Asia, Australia, Europe and North America.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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