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DALI, Zhang

PORTRAIT DALIBorn in 1963 in Harbin (China).

Lives and works in Beijing.


After studying painting and design at the Beijing Central Academy of Art and Design, Zhang Dali travelled to Italy, where he discovered graffiti art. Today recognised as China’s leading graffiti artist, Zhang started painting the walls of demolition sites in Beijing in the early 1990s. From 1995–98, he spraypainted over 2,000 profiles of his bald head on Beijing buildings, alongside the ‘chai’ characters painted by the city authorities to mark buildings scheduled for demolition; the images prompted a debate in the Beijing media in 1998.

In early 2000 he addressed the topic of migration, producing a large series of fibreglass sculptures and paintings depicting AK-47s, in tribute to the millions of people who came from all over the world to demolish and rebuild the cities.He has recently continued his work on migrants, incorporating it in a phantasmagorical world inhabited by animals. His recent solo shows include Pervasion at the He Xiangning art museum (Shenzhen) and Second History at the Space SZ Gallery, Beijing.

He has exhibited in many countries, notably at the International Center for Photography, New York; the Saatchi Gallery, London; the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; MoMA, San Francisco; the CoBrA museum of modern art, Amsterdam; the Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo; and the 2006 Gwanju Biennale, South Korea.



Zhang Dali presented his work at the Rencontres d’Arles in 2010: “Second Reading” et en 2007, dans le cadre de l’exposition collective “Chai-na / China”