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The works of Zhao Bandi


The works of Zhao Bandi are humorous, subversive, critical and seductive. Addressing the idea of media and mass reproduction, he suggests that the boundary between image and reality has broken down. He emphasizes the images' potential for transformation, but also the power of the manipulating gesture: it takes so little to change the value and significance of an image. Zhao Bandi came to acclaimed attention with staged scenarios where he and his toy panda perform ordinary everyday situations. The scenes display the life of a single father, while other times, the panda assumes the role of partner and lover. The panda is acts as a 'real' character with a voice of its own that appears as speech bubbles in the photos. Zhao Bandi is brilliant at both playing with and being played by the media culture.

Zhao Bandi's enchantment with the banality of modern life could seem condescending if not for the extraordinarily sincerity with which he goes about the entire theatrical set-up concerning his panda. Interaction with Zhao Bandi's pieces causes one to be susceptible to the special pathos and the pleasure of the meaninglessness of it all. Zhao Bandi's work frequently walks the fine line between fiction and reality. That is, a reality that produces fiction that produces reality.

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