Han Zhang (b.1988) is a Toronto-based emerging artist. Born and raised in China, she left home at the age of 17 to pursue education and artistic practice in the United States. Having studied and worked in many different countries and cultures, Han is fascinated by the subject of language, translation, meaning and cross-culture communication. She questions the problematic issues in literary and poetic translation: loss of meaning, instability of understanding and subjectivity of interpretation. In her work, Zhang challenges, deconstructs and reconfigures existing aesthetic frameworks of traditional Chinese calligraphy and our relationship to language as a symbolic device that defines who we are and how we understand the world. Zhang recently held a solo exhibition “Paper, Ink, Poetry” at the 6th edition of Sharjah Calligraphy Biennial 2014. She was among the only 9 international artists selected for solo exhibition at this prestigious event, together with other artists from France, Belgium, Iran, The Netherlands, UK, US and UAE. Her exhibition explored a variety of approaches to calligraphy and language, including two site-specific installations and works on paper. Han graduated Magna Cum Laude with High Honor in Studio Art from Mount Holyoke College in MA, USA and is currently a PhD student in the department of Communication and Culture at York University, Toronto, Canada. She has exhibited in various cities in Massachusetts, New York and locally in Toronto.
I have turned to Chinese calligraphy because it is the root of my cultural heritage. Unsatisfied with this traditional writing form as the destination of meaning, I want to open up a new space for interpretation to all viewers, regardless of their cultural and linguistic backgrounds. My work provokes us to question the void between what we already know and what we hope to understand. It is my hope that the lost familiarity evoked by my work will be found again as viewers engage and reacquaint with the material.
- Han Zhang