ZHAN Wang: The Invisible

  • Exhibition Period:12 January – 17 February 2019
  • Address:ESLITE GALLERY ∣ 5F, No.11, Songgao Rd., Taipei 11073, Taiwan
  • Opening:15:00-17:00, Sat, January 12th

ESLITE GALLERY is pleased to present “Zhan Wang: The Invisible” from January 12 to February 17, 2019. An extension of Zhan Wang’s major retrospective at Long Museum in Shanghai in 2017, this exhibition will feature over 20 representative works Zhan Wang made between 1994 and 2017, with many series including Mao Suit, Heart, Concealed Rock, Forms in Flux presented in Taiwan for the first time.

Made in 1994, Mao Suit was Zhan Wang’s one of earliest artistic attempts. It consists of upholstered mannequins dressed up in Mao Suits, whose struggling motions contrast with their vacuous core, serving as an analogy for the conditions of contemporary society and culture. In the video Heart, Zhan pointed a laser beam onto the ground and reflected the light onto the wall in front of him to create a configuration of kaleidoscopic images as the light throbbed with his own pulsating heart. This work marked a transformative direction for Zhan in 2009, as he was inspired by the relationship between the natural and the spiritual worlds. Another newly presented “Forms in Flux” series deploys algorithms derived from the study of fluid dynamics, 3D printing and tinkered stainless steel to bring to life the artist’s imagination of throwing himself in lava. The result is a fluid form of his granulated, morphed self.

Nine years have passed since Zhan Wang’s last exhibition “Reflection” was held at ESLITE GALLERY. This new exhibition, “Zhan Wang: The Invisible,” is a comprehensive overview of Zhan’s seminal works from different periods over the last two decades. By bringing together a diverse range of works, this exhibition seeks to reveal the unlimited bounds that characterize Zhan Wang’s oeuvre and his constant exploration and contemplation of the outer and inner worlds using forms.


ZHAN Wang was born in 1962 in Beijing where he continues to work until today. His creation has always found their roots in the Chinese scholar tradition, myths, religion and the profane life, yet out of this soil grew out works that depicts the total transformation of Chinese society, economics and culture since the 1990’s. It is the narrative and mythical nature that makes his work so immediate and intimate in relation to the spectator.

ZHAN became known for his stainless-steel scholar’s rocks in the 1990’s. His artificial rock is the first Chinese contemporary sculpture to be collected by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He has realized his intention of internationalized and contemporized this ancient unique Chinese culture of rock appreciation.

ZHAN has minted a new visual language that mythologizes China’s 21st-century metamorphosis into a modern, gleaming stainless-steel society while holding on to its traditions. While he is said to be a conceptualist sculptor, he believes that concept cannot be formed without artistry; this idea reflects the pursuit for moderation (Zhongyong) in Chinese philosophy.

The process of creation, from discovery of the rocks to their meticulous replication, reflects ancient philosopher Laozi’s notion that man cannot transcend nature. Working within nature’s confines is what distinguishes ZHAN’s work from western sculptors who seek to transform nature to express them.

ZHAN’s work combines Taoist notions of illusion, reality, and nature with an existentialist embrace of the absurd. Much of his work can only be seen in photographs or videos because part of his concept is that some of the sculptures be permanently exhibited in unreachable destinations. Even though he started off as a sculptor, he continues to expand the form and aesthetic significance in his work for the past twenty years.