Vivien Zhang

Vivien Zhang (b 1990, Beijing) is a London-based artist and grew up in China, Kenya and Thailand. Zhang is named on the 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list, and is the recipient of the Abbey Award 2016–17 at the British School at Rome and the Chadwell Award 2014–15. She received her MA in Painting from the Royal College of Art (London) after completing her undergraduate at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL (London).


Vivien Zhang’s work reflects disjunctions one experiences as a third-culture citizen and also as a digital native. Zhang’s paintings present a cultural and geographical fluidity that interrogates the palimpsest nature of contemporary culture and the paradoxes of our information age.


Zhang collates motifs from personal and collective shared experiences and manifest them in various combinations in her paintings. These motifs often occupy multiple contexts or cultures, or share properties of ambiguity. Assembled in the space of her canvases, the motifs collide and defy their origin interpretations, generating open networks (Umberto Eco) and “alternative landscapes” for an imagined generation of third-culture inhabitants. Examples of these motifs include the mathematical shape Gömböc, Central Asian kilims, “manicules” found in early European manuscripts, and spiral columns in Baroque churches.


Vivien Zhang’s works have been exhibited internationally and are in the Andrew Xue collection (Singapore), Aspen Collection (UK), Star Museum (Shanghai), Swarovski Archive (Global), and White Rabbit Collection (Sydney) amongst others. Zhang’s recent exhibitions include Codescape (solo), Long March Space, Beijing; Echo Chamber (group), Plus-One Gallery, Antwerp; Generation Y (group), Platform Foundation, London; Uzumaki (solo), House of Egorn, Berlin; Digital Natives: Vivien Zhang and Thomas van Linge (duo), The RYDER, London; All As Long Distance Neighbours (group), SOYUZ, Pescara; Beyond Borders (group), Blain|Southern, London; Cavity Drift: Vivien Zhang (solo), Galerie Huit, Hong Kong; and Saatchi New Sensations 2014 (group), Victoria House, London.