chinese contemporary art
Artists >>Zhuang Shuang

Zhang Shuang’s symphonic compositions of pencil, watercolor, charcoal and ink on paper depict lone female figures in fantastical surroundings. By staging one character in various settings and costumes, Zhang Shuang’s works communicate deep, psychological sentiments through the artist’s strong command of expression and attention to detail.

1994 Graduated from Central Institute of Arts and Crafts, Qinghua University Fine Arts Institute, majored in The Design of Packaging Bachelor Degree
1998 Teacher in Chengdu Fine Arts Institute.

The most striking feature of Zhang Shuang’s females is their exaggerated, protruding eyes. Variations in the direction of her gaze, shading of the irises or the presence of a thin film of tears creates a distinctive emotion in each figure. In 2007 the artist had a baby girl – an event that has had strong influence on her work. Just as babies who have not yet learned to speak learn to convey emotions through their eyes, so Zhang Shuang centers the expressive focal point of her works on the oversized eyes. In one work, a lonely traveler looks utterly lost as her tear filled eyes gaze towards the sky. In another, a costumed superhero is petrified as she gazes towards the viewer much like a deer in headlights. The versatility of the figures’ expressions, from stunned to curious to lonely, speak volumes for the multitude of fears that can arise as a young mother.

This juxtaposition between childish tendencies and the reality of maturity is furthered by the costumes of the figures. Dolled up with rouge, stylized hair and feminine accoutrements like a girl playing dress up, Zhang Shuang’s females nervously bite their fingers and look to the viewer in a plea for direction. However, this demonstration of a longing for ‘adult approval’ stands in contrast to the females’ mature figure. In her Angel Spirit series transparent dresses expose a woman’s body and undergarments. In To Drop, the figure is dressed up in a Superman uniform, which is largely reminiscent of a child’s Halloween costume until the realization that the mini skirt and cropped tee shirt expose the busty chesty and curvaceous figure beneath.

The final reluctance to let go of this childish realm appear in the elements of fantasy which Zhang Shuang sprinkles around the figures in her works. Miniature Supermen, fanged dragons, flying babies, and winged creatures are all reminders of the terrifying aspects of the make believe. Zhang Shuang makes no presumptions of security for her heroines in these frequently bloody and foreboding scenarios.