Dimensions: 78 x 18 x 24″
Media: cast bronze
Wanxin Zhang’s Pink Warrior touches on Zhang’s thematic amalgamations of the past and present by referencing the historical Qin terra cotta warriors while rendering one through a more personal and present approach. The cast bronze figure has been painted pink, posing a commentary on social perceptions of gender and identity by feminizing an otherwise masculine individual. Zhang’s warrior stands to attention as if awaiting the command of an implied authority, insinuating the pervasive presence of the Chinese government—embodied even when the physical, authoritative bodies are absent. The sculpture evades any sense of temporal classification; his pose is that of a historical fighter, yet his eyeglasses and hair-style grant him the air of a modern civilian.
Wanxin Zhang is a Chinese artist who has spent much of his career creating and teaching in the United States, after moving to San Francisco in 1992 to receive his Master in Fine Arts at the Academy of Art University. Much of Zhang’s work focuses on blurring the line between the past and present; after visiting the Qin dynasty terra cotta warriors, Zhang observed that many of the regulations associated with the oppressive Chinese government were not specific to a contemporary context, but have been implemented throughout Chinese history. Zhang uses his clay works to sustain a critical and analytical dialogue on the political atmosphere within his home country—simultaneously playing with the contrast to western democracy and the artistic liberties it has allowed him. Zhang’s work has been influenced by Bay Area artistic movements such as the figurative and funk movements, and draws from the work of artists like Stephen de Staebler and Peter Voulkos. Zhang’s sculptural works are typically made with clay, which allows him to “push the boundaries of what clay can express” and “to see how [he] can truly incorporate [his] purpose, inspirations, and critiques to reflect life”.
by Keira Seidenberg