Zhan Zhang Xu

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Artist ZHANG XU Zhan has recently engaged in exploring “the universal connections between Taiwanese and world cultures,” such as how the meaning of music changes during its circulation and how oral tradition permeates into different regions to produce localized variations, insofar as to discover the general principles and similarities of cultural circulation, integrate those similar yet heterogeneous signatures, explore how locality extends by linking up with universality, and finally create new derivative works.

The Aarne-Thompson (AT) Index is a classification system invented by anthropologists to group similar folktales, fairytales and fables from different cultures in the world.

"Compound Eyes of Tropical", the artist’s new video artwork, owes its inspiration exactly to the AT Index. Appearing as an adaptation of “Java Mouse Deer Crossing the River,” a famous story circulating in Southeast Asia, and as a blend of similar characters including “rabbit and crab” in Asian folktales and “mouse and buffalo” in the Chinese zodiac, this work reinterprets these elements in the form of a “dancing procession of animals in Taiwan.” Treating the texts from different cultures as “compound eyes,” this work weaves the images of these animals into the same narrative and linear time. Besides, a new plot is constructed for this work, hence a novel narrative structure. Designed as a refreshing video amination, this work echoes not only the similarities among folktales around the world, but also the characters’ protean images in these folktales.

Exhibition History:

2022 Sep. Deutsche Bank Artists of the Year 2020, The Museum of Cultures of Milan, Milan, Italy

2022 Aug. ZHANG XU Zhan Solo Exhibition (Name TBD), Taipei Fine Art Museum, Taipei, Taiwan

2021 Deutsche Bank Artists of the Year 2020, Palais Populaire, Berlin.

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'Inferiority Bat' Hsin Hsin Joss Paper Store Series Room 003 recalls images through reflection of memory; some respond to the sense of loss, some respond to changing beliefs, and some to the dilemma between traditions and modernity, the desolation of lost culture and traces of life, the unique lifestyles as results of progress of time, or even people’s imagination of future and projection and displacement for the unknown world. The contemporary implications overlapped with the experience of survival are thus forged into a quasi-autobiography incorporated in the series of animated videos.

  • photo by Yu Chung Chen
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Born into the popular century-old Hsin-Hsing Paper Sculpture Store in Xinzhuang, Taipei County, 1988, Zhang Xu Zhan specializes in creating a riotous profusion of paper effigies ranging from luxurious mansions and oversized paper dolls to paper-pasted mythological animals and flowers. Earning his master’s degree in new media art from Taipei National University of the Arts in 2010, the artist is also proficient in employing diverse media such as drawing, stop-motion paper doll and multi-channel video installation to create animations, videos, experimental films and extended images. His artworks not on ...