Natural Impersonation

Zhidong Zhang

2019 - Ongoing

I see my practice as manifestations of vulnerability, of defiance, and of my beliefs. Caught between my hometown Hunan and the U.S, Natural Impersonation explores the construction of sexuality and identity in the context of the repression and censorship of homosexuality in China.

Engaged in the dialogue of how the “inappropriate desire” can be manifested and subverted through photographic representations, I construct alluring and voyeuristic scenes inflected with fantasy, trauma, fetish, and violence. Through collaborations of staged portraits of close friends, family members, myself, and still life made with low value objects I collected from dollar stores, the connection within my subjects conjures a series of referential tableaux that is tied inseparable to the real world. By introducing the private realm of same-sex romance and intimacy into a public sphere, against the backdrop of a heteronormative and phallocentric structure, I attempt to reexamine how the exteriorization of homoeroticism is made visible and accessible in a state of grotesque masquerade and performance, which consequently mimics a proximity to an alternative reality that challenges the rigid and stereotypical codes of identity construction, gender roles, and traditional cultural values. Together, it becomes a description of a rather peculiar experience, looking inward, longing outward.

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  • Boy with Rooster, 2019

  • Anticipated Invasion, 2020

  • Kan, 2020

  • Pillowman, 2019

  • Sweaty, 2020

  • Bird Cage, 2020

  • I know How Much You Love It, 2019

  • SZQ, 2020

  • Gentle Kiss, 2019

  • Room Study (self-portrait), 2020

  • We Had Fun Last Night, 2020

  • Shower Birds, 2020

  • Zero Sugar, Monster, 2020

  • Last Summer Day, 2020

  • Three Coats, 2020

  • Ghost Image, 2020

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