Year of Birth
Country of Birth
A Thousand Plateaus
Zhai Liang (b.1983) began to learn painting in junior high school. Since his mother is from Tianjin, a northern city in China, he attended the Fine Arts High School in Tianjin.
In his junior year there, a teacher took him to Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts for a lecture about Joseph Boyce. He asked: Who is Boyce? The teacher said that it was Andy Warhol in Europe. He thought to himself: Who is Andy Warhol?
In 2002, he was admitted to the Sichuan Fine Arts Academy. He began to read Boyce's autobiography in his freshman year. After graduation, he ...
Zhai Liang's work is known for the fusion of pictorial representation and literalization. His exploration of the relationship between image and text is represented in his iconic series of works titled "The Garden of Forking Paths"(2011-2015).
In response to Jorge Luis Borges' novel <The Garden of Forking Paths>, Zhai Liang transfers himself into a reader, a literary critic and Borges himself in three exhibitions - "Reader" (2011), "Critic" (2013), and "Author" (2015). Using the exhibition space to build a continuous dialogue with classic texts, these three exhibitions regurgitate the complicated reading experience and implants physiological emotions, realistic memories, and metaphysical reflections.
The work "How Is Inspiration Generated" (2015) overlooks the atrium under the spiral staircase of the Metropolitan Museum, Zhai does not fully dive into the biographical depiction of the subject, but rather stays in Borges’ inner thinking process, in which some possible moments of inspirations lie and for which visual associations and transformations are found.
Borges regards absurd and fantastic historical texts as the starting point for reimagining and recognising. From him, Zhai learned how to find a clue - that let him immerse in and meanwhile be able to travel through the labyrinth of knowledge, so as not to lose the self as the creator.
In his another exhibition "Catalog—The Library of Babel " (2014), Zhai masters such way of thinking and creating.
"Poetry has a magical power, it can turn ordinary words into mysterious and touching through various combinations. "
—— Zhai Liang
In Zhai's latest work "Grid 3"(2021), which will be exhibited offline at the Liste Art Fair in Basel, he uses the same method to withdraw modern language from its represented order, let it free and return to an ancient time.
In "Grid 3", we will see that: based on the index of the encyclopedia <The Night Ferry>, Zhai classifies a number of terminologies that artists nowadays care about (their heavy and confusing contemporary meaning behind them), and draws an image on each card to visually present these words. These cards will be represented in a wall grid of defined horizontal and vertical axis, and correspondingly, these cards will eventually have very different meanings under this bizarre heading.
Various possible fragments of order are produced in these irregular and nonmodern dimensions. Words and words are intertwined in the depths of time, forming a scene of disorder and at the same time implying a vast and unknown middle ground.
For instances, simply speaking, this work "Two with the same name stay for a while" (2021) is the result of combining two phrases - "Two with the same name" on the horizontal axis (X3) and "stay for a while" on the vertical axis (YG).