“For me, creating artworks is a meditative process through which I can adjust my thinking and better understand myself.  It is like a compulsive disorder.”

Born 1984, Jinan, Shandong

Zhang Yi had a cloistered childhood during which she spent a lot of time alone, reading, drawing and daydreaming.  When her parents went to work, they often locked her in the family apartment.  She enjoyed having the space to herself but says that “very confined” world also made her feel detached from the rest of humanity.  Making art became her way to reconnect with other people.  Amber (2006) was inspired by something the artist first heard about in primary school: the discovery of tiny insects caught in tree sap and perfectly preserved for eons.  Their fate nagged at her for years, she says. Thinking about it still reminds her of her childhood solitude and fills her with “infinite loneliness”. Amber is a spine-like tower of resin blocks in which Zhang Yi has embedded parts of dismembered dolls and cut-up photographs of herself.  “This work is like a game that lightly removes me from my own life,” she says.  It is as if “my living self is trapped inside, so I’m dislocated in time and space.”



 

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