Vivien Zhang’s paintings interrogate the palimpsestic nature of contemporary culture. As a digital native, she 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. These 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.
Zhang is interested in the qualitative and hierarchical attributions we assign to the things around us. Echo Complex 3, 2021, references a flowering plant with black seeds, Sterculia lanceolata. The name of the plant is called ‘fake Sterculia monosperma’ in the Chinese language – with a qualitative nomenclature and as if it is imitating a similar species. The artist plays with the tension between the systematic and the organic in her work. In this painting, repeated layers – as if simulating digital renderings – stack up in an orderly manner, in contrast to minute variations and large, scribbly yellow lines throughout the composition.
- Artwork Details: 200 x 180cm
- Material description: Acrylic, acrylic polymer paste and oil on canvas
- Credit line: © the artist. Image courtesy of the artist and Pilar Corrias, London
- Medium: Painting
- Accession number: ACC31/2021