Paintings display cultural intersections

Updated 2018-09-14 08:11:00

Vivien Zhang's first solo exhibition in China features her oil paintings that employ colorful patterns to convey her ideas. The ongoing show runs at Beijing's Long March Space through Oct 28.

Vivien Zhang's first solo exhibition in China, Codescape, is intended to inspire discussion among the generation born in the 1990s, who've grown up amid rapid technological development.

The 27-year-old Beijing native, who was listed on Forbes' 30 Under 30-Asia-the Arts 2017, left China after the fifth grade. She spent the rest of her childhood in Nairobi and Bangkok, before attending university in London, where she earned her master's degree.

Codescape is on show at Beijing's Long March Space through Oct 28.

Forbes describes Zhang's oil paintings as "intricate". They employ colorful patterns to convey her ideas about geographical fluidity, science, math and philosophy.

"I started to develop a love for painting in childhood," she says.

"I didn't have formal training as a kid. But I've never stopped painting since. If it stops bringing me joy, then I'll focus on something else."

She recalls struggling in her early days in London.

Initially, her studio there was a tiny, unheated room with a single, glazed window.

Vivien Zhang's first solo exhibition in China features her oil paintings that employ colorful patterns to convey her ideas. The ongoing show runs at Beijing's Long March Space through Oct 28.

Zhang would often stare at an ultrasonic mouse-repellent device affixed to the ceiling. This allowed her thoughts to flow freely.

"That time reminded me that humans are strong and adaptable animals. We can endure a lot for the lives we seek," she says.

She also had to grapple with cultural challenges in London.

Zhang says her works aren't political. But she does aspire to challenge how people view art and culture, especially in their non-Western manifestations.

Her multicultural background not only endowed her with a unique perspective on her surroundings but also showed her that being an artist didn't excuse her from her responsibilities as a global citizen and a person of Chinese origin.

Vivien Zhang's first solo exhibition in China features her oil paintings that employ colorful patterns to convey her ideas. The ongoing show runs at Beijing's Long March Space through Oct 28.

"You face many challenges as a Chinese person living abroad," she says.

"My location at the intersection of cultures guides my creativity. And creativity is how I have a conversation with myself."

She constantly seeks to engage traditional Chinese culture, since she has spent most of her life away from it. So, she builds on the emotional and epistemological roots of such traditional symbols as ancient bronze ware and temples.

"It's normal and 100 percent OK that viewers from different cultures aren't aware of the symbols I use," she says.

"It makes me want to use them more, to tempt them to want to understand the cultures I come from."

Vivien Zhang's first solo exhibition in China features her oil paintings that employ colorful patterns to convey her ideas. The ongoing show runs at Beijing's Long March Space through Oct 28.

See Also

Travel Videos

Photo Gallery

Worship Season in Lhasa

Lhasa, capital city of Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region, has entered the worship season. Buddhists from across Tibet come to the Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple for worship.

Hello Kitty Theme Park Opens in Zhejiang

The first Hello Kitty theme park outside Japan officially opened on Thursday, the first day of the year in the Anji county, Huzhou city, East China's Zhejiang province.

News:
China World Business Sports Showbiz Audio
Video:
C4 My Chinese Life The Sound Stage China Revealed Showbiz Video Travel Video
Photos:
China World Fun Travel Entertainment Sports
Travel:
Beijing Shanghai Guangzhou
Lifestyle:
Live Music Opera & Classical Movies Traditional Shows Exhibitions
Learn Chinese:
Chinese Studio Living Chinese Everyday Chinese Just For Fun Chinese Culture Buzzwords