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Zhang Dali is a Chinese artist born in 1963 in Harbin who lives and works in Beijing. After completing his studies at the Academy of Art and Design in Beijing, he traveled to Italy where he discovered the art of graffiti. On his return, he is the only graffiti artist in Beijing. Today he is considered as one of the pioneers of Chinese graffiti. Zhang Dali is famous for the 2000 giants profiles of himself he placed around Beijing between 1995 and 1998, next to the chai characters painted by the city authorities to indicate a demolition. His graffitis are a revolt against the demolition of the Old Beijing. To this series of profiles, entitled Dialogue, Zhang Dali adds the series Demolition: he removes the wall surface inside the contour lines of his graffitis, showing what lies behind. One of the best known being Demolition - Forbidden City (1998) that reveals the roofs of the Forbidden City, and denounces the contrast between the eternal palace and the demolition of old Beijing because of progress. Zhang Dali is the first to achieve a lasting artistic intervention in public space in China. He uses pseudonyms AK-47 and 18K, his figurative signatures may be considered as the graphic indoctrinement of posters urging Chinese citizens to behave better in daily life.
Later on, his installation Chinese Offspring of 100 resin life-size sculptures, representing migrant workers in different postures, continues its work to expose how China modernizes regardless of its inhabitants. Hanging upside down, these works highlight the lack of power of these migrant workers, whose work has enabled the rapid modernization of cities, among their lives, and the unceremoniously treatment they inflict to China. Highlighting those who lost to the historical upheavals is the main theme of the work of Zhang Dali. His photographic series, A Second History, associate press photos retouched with their original at the time of the Cultural Revolution, Zhang Dali removes the comrades of Mao Zedong's party who fell out of favor and change backgrounds. He creates a new history for the victims.
"I believe that humans are the product of their environment. I am concerned about the changes in our living environment that have been imposed by money and power. " Zhang Dali