Zhang Haiying's Anti-Vice Series is based on Internet photographs of young women caught up in the Chinese government's efforts to purge the city of prostitution and pornography. The highly publicized campaign to "eliminate vice and illegal publications" focuses on the apprehension and detention of young women such as these, who are among the most powerless of the country's citizens. Victimized on one hand by gangs and threatened with fines and prison by authorities on the other, they are often paraded through streets to face insults and ridicule.
Zhang is not attempting to present a case for the decriminalization of prostitution, but as an artist, hopes instead to portray their frail humanity and the sympathy their shame evokes. The series examines the anguish of the purge, from the crime itself to arrest and detention. Taken as a whole, Anti-Vice paintings reflect an awkward condition in contemporary Chinese society.
Zhang Haiying's Anti-Vice Campaign series takes as its subject the Chinese government's recent initiatives in eradicating prostitution and pornography. Executed on monumental scale and in faux social realist style Zhang's paintings use the devices of propaganda for non-politicised means: his works neither advocate nor criticise illicit activity, but draw from the associated issues of power, exclusion, vulnerability, and perception to create images of emotive discord.
Finding his source material on the internet, Zhang translates photographic images with subtle painterly manipulations to enhance mass media aesthetics and its conflicting messaging. His tones - dramatic reds over cold greys - allude to both authoritative iconography and strip club sleaze, while his stylised figures are made to look strangely hyper-real, like computer generated avatars, or celebrities overexposed in paparazzi swarms; women objectified by their equally desirable and degrading portrayal.
Zhang renders these scenes with a master's craftsmanship. Hair, flesh, fabric, objects are constructed as self-contained elements, their individual treatment creating a sense of isolation and disunity in the collage effect. His super-pop sheen is exaggerated through painterly veracity: camera blurs, print bleeds, and flash bulb glares are faithfully replicated by brushwork which borders on abstraction. In Series 005 the night vision video effect is perfectly replicated by impassioned smears and smudges, simulating photo realism with intuitive spontaneity.
Behind each of these paintings is a complex story: of destitution, desperation, abuse and entrapment, side effects of economics, migration, and progress; the human costs of commodity culture. By recontextualising the way prostitution is represented and perceived, Zhang's paintings strive to convey the human condition, with all its indignities and weaknesses, as a duplicitous victimisation of both the oppressed and oppressors
Born in Shandong, China
Selected Solo Exhibitions
Anti-vice Scene•Zhang Haiying Solo Exhibition at China International Gallery Expo (CIGE), Soemo Fine Arts, Beijing, China
Zhang Haiying Solo Show, Amsterdam, Holland
Anti-Vice•Zhang Haiying Solo Show, Willem Kerseboom Gallery, Amsterdam, Holland
Dancing In The Soul•Zhang Haiying Oil Painting Exhibition, Beijing, China
Selected Group Eexhibitions
SH Contemporary Art Fair 2011, by Soemo Fine Arts, Beijing, China
Beyond The Broken Skin, Soemo Fine Arts, Beijing, China
Red Man Meet Sinful Ladies of the night, Soemo Fine Arts, Beijing, China
Empty, Soemo Fine Arts, Beijing, China
The Revolution Continues•New Chinese Art, Saatchi-gallery, London, UK
Art Basel, Basel, Swiss
Art Amsterdam 2008, Willem Kerseboom Gallery, Amsterdam, Holland
Art Asia Miami, U.S.A
Go China•Amsterdam and Groningen-Chinese Contemporary Art, Richard Ter Borg Gallery, Groningen, Holland
Standpoint-Contemporary Art Exhibition, Soemo-Fine-Arts, Beijing, China
Artour-O Art Exhibition, Florence, Italy
Move Away From Songzhuang Art Circuit Exhibition, Beijing-Shanghai-Jinan-Shenyang, China
Art-Beijing 2007 Contemporary Art Exposition, Beijing, China
1st Songzhuang Multimedia Exhibition, Beijing, China
Out Of The Heaven•3rd Songzhuang Artists Visual Art Exhibition, Beijing, China
Out Of The Heaven•2nd Songzhuang Artist Visual Art Exhibition, Beijing, China
Sovereign Asia Art Foundation Art Exhibition, Hong-Kong
Chinese Symbol•Chinese Artist Group Exhibition, France
Nice Destruction•Contemporary Art Exhibition, Beijing, China
Splendid China, Beijing, China
1st Songzhuang Art Festival, Song Zhuang, Beijing, China
Hearsay•Contemporary Art Show, Beijing, China