Zhao Zhao was born in Xinjiang, China, in 1982. He graduated from the department of Oil Painting with a BFA from the Xinjiang Institute of Arts in 2003. He attended the Beijing Film Academy. He was Ai Weiwei’s assistant before he became an influential artist of the young Post-80s generation of contemporary Chinese artists.
Zhao Zhao’s multidisciplinary body of work is an analysis of China’s contemporary profile and the socio-political consequences of individual human action. In A Slap to the Face, (2014), he slapped people in the name of performance art and Secret Love, (2014) stabbed fellow contemporary artist Sun Yuan in the back in the performance work. After a car accident in which his head slammed into the windshield, Zhao Zhao was amazed by the patterns of cracked glass at the point of impact. This led to his series of hyper-realistic paintings called Constellations, based on bullet impacts on shatter-proof glass panes, which reminded the artist of interstellar galaxies. Also exhibited in Constellations was Officer (2011) is a limestone statue of a Chinese police officer, broken into pieces on the ground. The statue was made when Ai Weiwei was arrested in 2011. The badge number on the work corresponds to the date Ai Weiwei was arrested. For his new addition to the Constellations series, he used jade from Gansu province inserted into glass. Jade has traditionally been used as an element in rituals, being imbued with protective powers as well as healing energies. In Project Taklamakan (2016), he successfully placed a refrigerator full of local Xinjiang beer in the middle of the Taklamakan Desert, part of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.
Recent exhibitions of Zhao Zhao include: Control, Mizuma Art Gallery, Singapore and Roberts Project, Los Angeles, (2019); In Extremis, Tang Contemporary Beijing (2018); One Second – One Year, Tang Contemporary Art, Hong Kong (2018). He has participated in many group museum ex hibitions, including Humboldt Lab Dahlem, Museum of Art, Berlin, Germany (2013); Zero Tolerance, MoMA PS1, New York, NY (2014); Time is a Saw: Established and Emerging Contemporary Chinese Artists, Crossman Gallery, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Whitewater, WI (2014); and JingShen: The Act of Painting in Contemporary China, Padiglione d’arte Contemporanea, Milan, Italy (2016).