Zhang Dali was born in 1963 in Harbin, China. He graduated in from the Central Academy of Art and Design in 1987. He currently lives and works in Beijing.
Beginning with his 1990s work Dialogue in Bologna and Beijing, Zhang has questioned social reality using a range of media, including installation, sculpture, performance, photography, and painting. In 2003, he began intense archival research, looking for doctored historical photos and tracing how this doctoring took place, comparing the same image in different publications and editions and questioning the “reality” represented by such fake images and the message they conveyed. In 2008, these photos where collected into one work entitled A Second History. Zhang Dali has always been concerned with the people occupying the lower levels of society, and he has made the “weak collective” the subject of many of his works. The men and women, seniors and children that we see in his works are the same people we see in our everyday lives. Using an allegorical narrative, he unflinchingly highlights the problems in Chinese society and expresses hope for the future in a way that viewers will never forget.
Zhang Dali has participated in exhibitions around the world, including “Zhang Dali - World's Shadows” at Ludwigsburg Kunstverein, “Second History” at MACBA and the Guangdong Museum of Art, “From Reality to Extreme Reality: Zhang Dali’s Path” at United Museum, “Pervasion” at He Xiangning Art Museum, “Fake It” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, “New Photography” at MoMA New York, and “Speech Matters” at the Venice Biennale.
Zhang Dali's works have been collected by numerous institutions such as MoMA New York, the International Center of Photography, Asia Society, Denver Art Museum, 21c Museum, Saatchi Gallery, Fukuoka Art Museum, Nasher Art Museum, the Smart Museum, the White Rabbit Collection, and Museum Beelden Aan Zee.