Zhang Xiaogang (born 1958) is a preeminent member of the Chinese avant-garde, whose Surrealist-influenced work focuses on the aftereffects of China’s Cultural Revolution, and the meaning of family, history, and memory in China today.
Zhang was born in Kunming, in southern China’s Yunnan Province, and grew up during the Cultural Revolution under Mao Zedong. His parents were forced into “study camps” while he was a boy, and Zhang was sent to a “reeducation camp” to perform hard labor as a young adult; these experiences directly impacted his art later in life.
Zhang is best known for his Bloodlines series, inspired by his discovery of old family photographs, and reached international stature with the debut of his Bloodlines-Big Family series at the 1995 Venice Biennale. He continues to explore issues of family, history, individualism, and Chinese life after the Cultural Revolution in his work.