This interview was conducted at the China Academy of Art and Zhang Peili's studio in Hangzhou on 23 November 2008. For more information please visit the Materials of the Future website.



Zhang Peili (b. 1957, Hangzhou) is an artist and Head of the New Media Department at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou.

Zhang graduated from the Oil Painting Department at the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts (now the China Academy of Art) in 1984. The following year, he helped organize the exhibition ‘New Space' in which his oil paintings, including Midsummer Swimmers, Please Enjoy Some Jazz and Interval, were also shown.

In 1986, Zhang helped form the Pond Society with Geng Jianyi, Wang Qiang, Song Ling, Bao Jianfei, Cao Xuelei and others. In the late 1980s, he created a series of groundbreaking works like Yang’s Tai Chi, an innovative outdoor work, and two early experiments in conceptual, text-based art, About X?: Exhibition Procedures and Art Project No. 2. Zhang also created 30X30, a video work now recognized as the first video art piece in the history of Chinese contemporary art.

In the early '90s, Zhang founded the New Media Department at the China Academy of Art, the first of its kind in China’s art academy system. He has also been an active participant in international exhibitions. In 2008, OCAT Shenzhen held a solo exhibition for Zhang, in conjunction with a comprehensive monograph entitled Artistic Working Manual of Zhang Peili.





In 2006, Asia Art Archive began a focused archiving project called 'Materials of the Future: Documenting Contemporary Chinese Art from 1980-1990'. This project aimed at developing a comprehensive collection of primary research materials including books, periodicals, newspapers, exhibition brochures, invitations, video recordings, correspondence, and other relevant documents. 

As part of this project, AAA digitised more than 80,000 items of material from personal archives to include artists Mao Xuhui, Wu Shanzhuan, Zhang Xiaogang, and Zhang Peili; curators and critics Fei Dawei, Lu Peng, and Zheng Shengtian; as well as the archives of Tokyo Art Gallery. As part of the research process over 75 in-depth interviews with key artists, curators, and critics were conducted. From a portion of these interviews, AAA created a documentary film about experimental art in South China (Guangzhou) in the 1980s entitled From Jean-Paul Sartre to Teresa Teng: Contemporary Cantonese Art in the 1980s.

AAA’s 1980s archiving project culminated with the launch of a comprehensive website portal called www.china1980s.org in September 2010.

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"Materials of the Future: Documenting Contemporary Chinese Art from 1980-1990" interview series: Zhang Peili (Transcript, Simplified Chinese), 「未來的材料:紀錄1980-1990中國當代藝術」訪問系列:張培力(抄本, 簡體中文)