A central theme of Zhan Wang’s work is Scholars’ Rocks: rocks that have been naturally eroded and are revered for their embodiment of the dynamic transformational process of nature. They are thought to possess a vital energy and often used for meditation. Artisans have also produced replicas of these rocks in glass and ceramic. Zhan inserts himself in this history by recreating the formations in more industrial materials, such as stainless steel and chrome. By doing so, he invites the viewer to redefine the parameters of tradition and question the ways in which these traditions evolve in the contemporary world. He often places the sculptures in courtyards, which are spaces traditionally associated with their genuine counterparts, but they are also sited in more contemporary contexts, for instance outside an office building. The photographs in Zhan’s “Flowers in the Mirror” series mimic the twisted images one may see reflected in the surfaces of these sculptural forms.
Label from For the Love of Things: Still Life, February 27–May 29, 2016