Biography

Born in Beijing, China, in 1959, Zhang Gong graduated with an MFA from the Central Academy of Arts and Design in 1993. He is currently a Professor at the Information Department of Art and Design at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

 

As early in the 1990s, his paintings gained recognition from the Chinese contemporary art world, and were exhibited at the “Contemporary Chinese Oil Painting Exhibition - From Realism to Post-Modernism” (Belgium, 1995), “China!” (Kunstmuseum, Germany, 1996), “8+8-1: Selected Paintings by 15 Contemporary Artists”, touring exhibition across Europe (1997). Since his first major solo exhibition in Hong Kong in 1994, he has held over 10 solo exhibitions in New York, Tokyo, Beijing, etc. His works are collected by important museums and organizations including Uli Sigg Collection and Asia Society Contemporary Art Collection.

 

Zhang Gong is also one of the pioneers in making hand-painted animated films in China. From 1999 to 2009, he produced five independent animated films, such as "Ms Red" (2009), "Black Pig, White Pig" (2005), "Trees" (2003), which were highly praised in many international animation festivals in Europe and Asia, such as Annecy International Animated Film Festival, France, Brussels Animation Films Festival, Belgium, London International Animation Festival, and Cinémathèque Québécoise, Montreal. 

 

 

Works
Artistry

 

1992-1999 • SURREALISTIC PAINTINGS

From 1992 until 1999, Zhang Gong’s paintings carried surrealistic implications, often depicting a young boy against an industrial backdrop. Zhang’s use of bright, bold colors and humorous metaphorical narrative style, illustrates his distinct personal style and expresses his concern for the transformation of Chinese society.

 

    

Left: Elements of Love | 1993 | Oil on canvas | 100x80.5cm

Middle: The Brave Tom | 1995 | Oil on canvas | 193.5x130cm

Right: Family Scene | 1992 | Oil on canvas | 227x181cm 

 

  

Left: Happy Childhood | 1995 | Oil on canvas | 112x145cm

Right: Computer Virus No.4 | 1996 | Oil on canvas | 182x227cm

 

 

1999-2009 • DEVOTION TO ANIMATED FILMS

1999-2009 was the decade when Zhang Gong devoted his artistry to hand-painted animated films. At the time, Zhang found that he had reached the limitations of painting, and turned to animated film because it was more effective in delivering messages to mass audiences. Over the span of 10 years, Zhang created five hand-painted animated films, which were highly praised in animation festivals held in Europe and Japan: Trees (2003), The Bird (2004), Black Pig, White Pig (2005), The Perturbation of Mind (2006) and Miss Red (2009).

 

    

 

 

2007 • RELOCATION OF CARTOON CHARACTERS IN INNOVATIVE BACKGROUND SETTINGS

In 2007, Zhang Gong resumed his career in painting, putting cartoon characters in recreated settings, opening to the audience different scenes that are both familiar and unprecedented. In some cases, he also applies classic masterpieces from the history of Western art in the creation of this series and gives such masterpieces new interpretations. Cartoon characters applied include: Disney cartoons, Mickey Mouse, The Simpsons, Hello Kitty, etc., and animated cartoon characters created by Zhang Gong such as Ms Red and Ms Panda.

 

The Birth of Venus | 2007 | Acrylic on canvas | 100x190cm

 

Blue Disco 3 | 2011 | Acrylic on canvas | 60x75cm

 

Maja | 2008 | Acrylic on canvas | 112x145cm

 

Confrontation | 2009 | Acrylic on canvas | 120x220cm

 

 

2010 • METROPOLIS SERIES – BEIJING AND NEW YORK

In 2010, Zhang began to paint his Metropolis series, focusing on Beijing and New York as his subjects. After spending his childhood in Beijing, the modernization and industrialization of the city raised deep concerns for the artist. In the same year, Zhang Gong had his first visit to New York City where he was greatly impressed by the unique cityscape, and further considered the implications of urban life. The Metropolis series conveys Zhang’s reflections on history, culture and the contradictions of city life, in which civilization and material wealth are exciting, yet the crowded, fast-paced and intense environment creates anxiety and social barriers. In his paintings, Zhang uses cartoon characters as a metaphor for people in reality.

 

Harmony Enters Beijing | 2011 | Acrylic on canvas | 75x60cm

 

Tower of Babel | 2011 | Acrylic on canvas | 112x145cm

 

New York Morning | 2011 | Acrylic on canvas | 54x65cm

 

 

2017-2018 • GARDEN OF EDEN SERIES

In his recent series, Zhang exercises his unbound imagination through allegorical narrative style. He often uses animals and plants to symbolize people facing society’s rapid transformation and religious symbols appear frequently. While the façade of his works are peaceful, playful and vivid in color, Zhang alludes to the doubts and anxieties that are hidden beneath, alluding to the reality of life. 

 

 

Sentimental Garden | 2018 | Acrylic on canvas | 140×344cm

 

Mr. Godot Will Definitely Come Tomorrow | 2017 | Acrylic on canvas | 95×110cm

 

 


 

 

Zhang Gong’s Beijing No. 3 represents every aspect of Beijing in detail, such as the bustling cityscape, the streets teeming with traffic, the sprawling blocks of buildings, and the monumental archways dismantled by large machine tools. Although the artist did not represent the cityscape in a photorealistic way, the viewers who are vaguely familiar with this city can still sense the endemic ambience of Beijing. Through this work, Zhang attempted more to convey his subjective feelings about the space than to reflect the general appearance of the city. This work incorporates not only the realities of Beijing but also the artist’s memories, feelings and wishes about the place where he spent his childhood. Despite the clamor and crowdedness of the city, we can still see the bright daylight shimmering with all the colors of the rainbow if we look up at the sky.

 

Excerpt from Zhang Gong: A Personal Posture in the City, by Sun Xiao-tung, 2014

 

 

Zhang Gong has been obsessed with artistic creations concerning urban cities.Zhang delineates architectures, streets, traffics, characters and stories happened in the cities with an unusual calmness. When we read the pictures in depth, it is very interesting to realize that the cities portrayed by the artist are very familiar yet particularly unfamiliar, whether or not it is Beijing, a place that I know very well, or any other cosmopolitan cities in the world…Perhaps the artist is not interested in an accurate drawing but the juxtapositional impressions of the city. This could be considered as a concentrated portraiture of the city.

Liu Ye, Artist, 2014

 

 

 Zhang Gong’s attention to the details is connate. The whole pictures of his works are filled with imperturbable details. These details are like self-replicating under a Zhang Gong’s style of reasoning to represent a big world: it seems that we could see every single pieces of brick as if we are able to grasp the textures of the entire city. We crawl from one building to another forever without an end. In the pictures that accommodated thousands of constituents, we may come to realize that there is no redundant detail. It seems that we have left behind our footprints in the pictures when we travel through.

 

Excerpt from The Innumerable Details : Zhang Gong’s paintings, Shao Fan, 2014

 

CV

 

1959

Born in Beijing, China

 

1993

 

Obtained Master of Fine Arts from Central Academy of Arts and Design

Present

 

Professor of the Department of Information Art & Design at Tsinghua University, Beijing

 

 

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2019

 

Beyond Description, Beyond Boundary - Paintings of Zhang Gong, Kwai Fung Hin Art Gallery, Hong Kong, China

2018

 

Mushroom Mushroom: Works by Zhang Gong, Hive Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China

 

2016

 

The Watcher, Klein Sun Gallery, New York, USA

 

2014          

 

A Tale of Metropolis, Kwai Fung Hin Art Gallery, Hong Kong, China

2012          

 

Where We Go, Eli Klein Fine Art, New York, USA

Castle in the Sky, Eastation Gallery, Beijing, China

 

2011

 

Beijing · New York, Eli Klein Fine Art, New York, USA

 

2010

 

Miss Panda, Eli Klein Fine Art, New York, USA

 

2008

 

The Birth of Miss Panda, Gallery Artside, Beijing, China

 

2000

 

Zhang Gong, Palace Ridge Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

 

1996

 

A Boy with an Opened Heart, Schoeni Art Gallery, Hong Kong, China

 

1994          

 

Ideals and Idols of Beijing, Schoeni Art Gallery, Hong Kong, China

 

 

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

 

 

2018

 

The Unscene, Klein Sun Gallery, New York, USA

2017

 

Forms and Effects: Ukiyo-e to Anime, Krege Foundation Gallery, Ramapo College, Mahwah, New Jersey, USA

2013

 

Art Southampton, New York, USA

Ying, Ying Space, Beijing, China

2011         

 

Scenes from Within: Contemporary Art from China, Blackbridge Hall Gallery, Georgia College, Milledgeville, USA

2008

 

Hypallage, the Pass Modern Mode of Chinese Contemporary Art, The OCT Art & Design Gallery, Shenzhen, China

2006

 

Fiction Love, MOCA Shanghai, China

Fiction Love, Bund 18 Creative Center, Shanghai, China

Fiction Love—Ultra New Vision in Contemporary Art, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore

2001

 

New Works Exhibition of Yue Minjun and Zhang Gong, The CourtYard Gallery, Beijing, China

 

1998

 

Exhibition of Chinese Artists, Gallery Marash, the Netherlands

 

1997         

 

8+8-1: Selected Paintings by 15 Contemporary Artists, Europe

 

1996

 

China!, Kunstmuseum, Bonn, Germany

 

1995

 

New Anecdotes of Social TalkA Three-Man Show by Zhang Gong, Hong Hao and Liu Ye, Beijing International Art Palace Gallery, Beijing, China

Contemporary Chinese Oil Painting Exhibition - From Realism to Post-Modernism, Galerie Theoremes, Brussels, Belgium

1993

  

Oil Paintings by Painters of China, Russia and Switzerland, Schoeni Art Gallery, Hong Kong

 

 

FILMOGRAPHY

2009       Ms Red

Delta Edges: The Pearl River Delta Indie-Animation Screening Tour, Hong Kong, 2013

The 3rd Shadows Festival, Paris, France, 2010

The 6th INDPANDA International Short Films Festival, Hong Kong, 2010

CIFVF, Bookshop Café of Wallflower Press, London, UK, 2010

The 29th Brussels Animation Films Festival, Brussels, Belgium 2010

The 3rd Chongqing Independent Film and Video Festival, Chongqing, China, 2009

The 4th Beijing Independent Film Festival, Beijing, China, 2009

 

2006       The Perturbance of Mind

Short Film Festival, Japan, 2008

Official Panorama, the 15th Anima Mundi: International Animation Festival, Rio de Janeiro & Sao Paulo, Brazil, 2007

 

2005        Black Pig White Pig

Festival International du Film d'Animation d'Annecy, France, 2017

The 2nd Chongqing Independent Film and Video Festival, Chongqing, China, 2008

Cinémathèque Québécoise, showing of Chinese animated films, Montreal, Canada, 2008

Without Borders Film Festival, Rome, Italy, 2008

The 2nd Beijing Independent Film Festival, Beijing, China, 2007

The 8th Annual San Diego Asian Film Festival, USA, 2007

London International Animation Festival, Curzon Cinema, London, UK, 2006

The 14th International Animation Festival of Brazil ANIMA MUNDI, Rio de Janeiro & Sao Paulo, Brazil, 2006

Melbourne International Animation Festival and Australian International Animation Festival, Melbourne, Australia, 2006

Official Panorama, The 30th Annecy Festival, France, 2006

The 11th Lyon Asian Film Festival, France, 2005

 

2004       The Bird

Without Borders Film Festival, Rome, Italy, 2008

TINDIRINDIS 2005 International Animated Film Festival, Vilnius, Lithuania, 2005

The 11th International Short Film Festival in Drama, Athens, Greece, 2005

Short Film Festival, Japan, 2005

The 21st International Short Film Festival, Hamburg, Germany, 2005

The 24th ANIMA - Brussels Festival of Cartoon and Animated Films, Brussels, Belgium 2004

Awarded the 1st Public Award for the Best Short Film and Jury Award for the Best Short Film,

The 10th Asian Film Culture Festival, Lyon, France, 2004

Nominated for the Best Chinese Animated Film, Film Hua Biao Awards, China, 2004

Awarded in the 3rd CTVA Academy Awards, China, 2004

 

2003       Trees

TINDIRINDIS 2005 International Animated Film Festival, Vilnius, Lithuania, 2005

Short Film Festival, Japan, 2005

Awarded the 2nd Public Award for Best Short Film, The 10th Asian Film and Culture Festival, Lyon, France, 2004

Awarded the 3rd CTVA Academy Awards, China, 2004

Awarded the Most Popular Film and Nominated for Best Produced Film, The 3rd Animation Academy Awards, Animation School of Beijing Film Academy, China, 2003

 

 

 

Exhibitions
Publications
Events
Video