Zhang Dali - China Avant-Garde: The Farber Collection London Friday, October 12, 2007 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist

  • Catalogue Essay

    Zhang Dali first designed his signature spray-painted profile of a large bald head while he lived in Italy in 1989. Back in China six years later, he began to paint this motif all over the city of Beijing, from the inner city to beyond the Third Ring Road.

    The photos of Zhang’s graffiti show Beijing’s changing cityscape from vanishing old streets and demolition sites to new high-rises and modernized architecture. But as the title of the project indicates, what these photograph mean to record is a dialogue. Although they illustrate a fast-changing society, the project also exposes the artist’s subjective intervention unto the city with his image forced upon the community through the process of graffiti. The photographs do not state the content or purpose of the dialogue, but act as an experiment testing whether the city is willing to be engaged in Zhang’s forced interaction. Without a clear response from its residents, Zhang is forced to move back into the position of observer, letting the city speak for itself.

    "This image is a condensation of my own likeness as an individual. It stands in my place to communicate with this city. I want to know everything about this city -- its state of being, its transformation, its structure. I call this project Dialogue. Of course there are many ways for an artist to communicate with a city. I use this method because, for one thing, it allows me to place my work at every corner of this city in a short period." (Zhang Dali's Dialogue: Conversation with a City, by Wu Hung. Public Culture, Volume 12, Number 3, Fall 2000).



Inkjet print on canvas.
11 x 15 3/4 in. (27.9 x 40 cm).
Signed, titled and dated “Dialogue: 1999 Beijing Zhang Dali [in Chinese]” on the overlap.

£5,000 - 7,000 

China Avant-Garde: The Farber Collection

The Farber Collection
13 October 2007, 7pm