Vivien Zhang

Vivien Zhang’s paintings present a cultural and geographical fluidity that interrogates the palimpsestic nature of contemporary culture and the paradoxes of our information age. As a digital native, Zhang assumes the role of a passive recipient in an ever-increasingly digitally-mediated world, and makes apparent the fragmented and sporadic ways in which we consume information. 

Zhang collates motifs from personal and collective shared experiences and manifests them in various combinations in her paintings. These motifs are often derived from multiple contexts and cultures, or share properties of ambiguity. Assembled in the space of her canvases, the motifs collide and defy their original interpretations, generating open networks and “alternative landscapes” for an imagined generation of third-culture (individuals who were raised in a culture other than that of their parents' or the culture of their country of nationality), digital inhabitants. Examples include the mathematical shape Gömböc, Central Asian kilims, world map projections, and “manicules” found in early European manuscripts.

Vivien Zhang (b. 1990, Beijing) is a London-based artist who spent her formative years in China, Kenya and Thailand. She received a BA in Fine Art from the Slade School of Fine Art, London in 2012, and an MA in Painting from the Royal College of Art, London in 2014. She is an Associate Lecturer at Camberwell College of Arts.

Recent solo exhibitions include Lorem Ipsum, Long March Space, Beijing (2021); New Peril, TANK Shanghai, Shanghai (2020); Soft Borders, Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai (2020); Codescape, Long March Space, Beijing (2018); Uzumaki, House of Egorn, Berlin (2018). Her works have been displayed in numerous group exhibitions, including Mixing It Up: Painting Today, Hayward Gallery, London (2021); After Image, Mamoth, London (2020); Echo Chamber, Plus-One Gallery, Antwerp (2019); and Digital Natives (duo exhibition with Thomas van Linge), The RYDER, London (2017). Vivien Zhang was the recipient of the Abbey Award 2016-17 at the British School at Rome and the Chadwell Award 2014–15.

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