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Zhang Dali (Chinese, b.1963)
LOT ID: 78070
AK-47 (G.10), 2008

Acrylic, on vinyl canvas
70.8 х 59 in. (179.83 x 149.86 cm.)
Signed, in Pinyin and English, dated "2008.1", and titled "AK-47 (G.10)" on back of canvas.
Lot description
"AK-47 (G.10)" (2008) is a monumental acrylic on vinyl painting by famous Chinese Contemporary artists Zhang Dali from his critically acclaimed 'AK-47' series of figurative paintings, that are titled after the artist's self-given street name. "AK-47"(G.10) comes directly to artnet Auctions from a Private Collection, China, where it has been held since 2008, measures 70.80 x 59.05 inches (180 x 150 cm) and is in excellent condition. This painting depicts a close-up realist portrait of a smiling Chinese youth, gazing optimistically outwards, unaware of his poor, migrant status or his displacement in the world. Zhang Dali deconstructs the portrait with his grid-like horizontal rows of text that repeat "AK-47" across the entire canvas, defacing the portrait. When viewed from a distance the 1-inch high "tags" disappear and the portrait appears in full. When viewed up-close, the portrait is fractured by the graffiti, eradicating the identity of this young man.

In 1989, internationally renowned Chinese artist Zhang Dali (whose 'street' names are "18K" and "AK-47") traveled to Italy. While there, he discovered the urban sprawl of graffiti, an event which altered his life and art, and eventually jump-started his career. It was in Europe that he first spray-painted the stylized image of his own bald head in profile, and his tag of "AK-47" which would later become the visual focus of his photographic series.
Graffiti is forbidden in China, and Zhang’s tag work on abandoned buildings marked for demolition is in itself a performance piece, with the spray paint acting the complete antithesis of traditional Chinese inks. Zhang returned to China in the early 1990's and began his "Dialogue and Demolition" series of photographs and paintings that documents the massive social change that China has recently been experiencing.
His work has been featured in many recent international exhibitions including the 2011 Venice Biennale, and select Museum Exhibitions: “New Photography 2011,” at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY and “Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop,” 2012 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY. His work is also held in the permanent collection of both institutions.
AK-47 (G.10) by Zhang Dali
  • AK-47 (G.10) by Zhang Dali
  • AK-47 (G.10) by Zhang Dali
  • AK-47 (G.10) by Zhang Dali
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