Zhao Bandi

Zhao Bandi
b. 1963, Beijing
Painter, photographer, installation artist
Zhao Bandi’s first exposure to the art scene was in 1993 when, after graduation from the Oil Painting Department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts (see also art academies) in 1988, his oil paintings were displayed in ‘China Avant-Garde’, an exhibition organized by Hans van Dijk for the Haus Der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin which toured Europe for two years. In his first solo-show, ‘Moonflight’ at the Hanmo Art Centre in Beijing (1994), Zhao addressed issues of social concern in such installations as The Big Rumour, Spreading until Today, in which a plexiglass cut-out in the form of a human silhouette was suspended from iron chains. Zhao’s early painterly work fell within the current of Cynical Realism, fusing black humour with ironical wit. In Zhao Bandi and Qian Qian (1996), a series of calendar photos realized in cooperation with the singer Zhang Qianqian, quotations from Cultural Revolution, visual imagery and a contemporary photo album are juxtaposed to depict the whimsical and existential landscape of modern urban life. His later work increasingly engages in a satire of notions of history and reality, country, culture and law. In the series Zhao Bandi and the Panda, for example, the photographic medium mimics the language of public-issue advertising. Begun in 1998, it was used in 2000 for a public art installation in which 300 light-boxes were scattered at different locations in Beijing’s subway stations and trains, each depicting the artist and a toy panda bear engaged in a dialogue marked by cartoon balloons and creating feelings of absurdity by mimicking public awareness campaigns.
Zhao’s work has been shown at the 48th Venice Biennale (1999), The Sun Rises in the East’ at the Arles Photo Festival in France (2000), and the Shanghai Biennale at the Shanghai Museum (2000), among other venues.
de Matté, Monica (1999). ‘Zhao Bandi’. In La Biennale di Venezia, 48a Esposizione d’Arte, d’Apertutto, Aperto Over All. Marsilio: La Biennale di Venezia: 212–15.
Dewar, Susan (1995). ‘Moonflight in Beijing’. ART Asia Pacific 2.1:34–5 [review of Moonflight].
Pollack, Barbara (2004). ‘Chinese Photography: Beyond Stereotypes’. ARTnews 103.2 (February): 98–103.
van Dijk, Hans and Lindermann, Inge (1996). China, China—Aktuelles aus 15 Ateliers (exhibition catalogue). Munich: Herausgeber Hahn Produktion.
Zhao, Bandi (1995). Configura 2—Dialog der Kulturen—Die Frage 40 Antworten Band 2. Erfuhrt: Configura Projekt GbR.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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