Chinese-born artist O Zhang is best known for her photographs that focus on ideas of identity and transformation, depicting images that are both familiar and foreign. Although she was trained as a painter at the Central Academy of Art in Beijing, she soon became interested in photography and concentrated on that medium during her time at the Royal Academy of Art, London. Ironically, in London she rediscovered Chinese art, expressing the reconnection to her own culture in a foreign place through dualities. Contemporary in technique while also reflecting the artistic traditions of Chinese art, Zhang’s photographs are images of the self transplanted to the West. Having lived in both communist and capitalist systems, Zhang addresses her cross-cultural identity by putting these dualities into play. In doing so, she challenges the viewer’s preconceptions to reveal the hidden, ambiguous spaces that exist in her home country as well as abroad.
In 2004 Zhang moved to New York City, where she currently lives and works, making yearly returns to her native China. She was exhibited at the Vilcek Foundation from September 15 to November 10, 2012, as part of her solo show I Am Your Mirror.
[forever & today, inc.];
New York. The Vilcek Foundation. O Zhang: a splendid future for the passed, November 18-December 19, 2010.
Iman Issa receives the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Fine Arts for exploring, through works of various media, difficult philosophical questions, such as the individual’s relationship to places, figures, and events that are collectively familiar, or the difference between experience and recognition.
Carlos Motta receives the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Fine Arts for his engagement, through performance, film, and other media, with the question of representation and democracy, the emotional underpinnings of political awareness, and the tension between dominant accounts of history and marginalized communities.
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