The romantic picture of America is often at odds with the jarring reality of living within its complex workings, a rift especially pronounced for Hai Zhang. At the age of 24, Zhang departed his home country of China and arrived at a small town in Alabama in 2000, the start of a connective thread that would drive his pursuits as he periodically traversed the South, Midwest and West. After nearly two decades spent living in both urban and rural locations in the U.S., his vision of America as a symbol “has transformed into unsettling curiosity and suspicion.” With a diverse repertoire of experience that includes a past career in architecture and years of work in photojournalism, he understands that the subject is never isolated from its surrounding context. There is always more to the photograph than what is depicted within the image, more questions than answers.
Born in 1976 in Kunming, China, Hai Zhang is a photographer based in New York. While he has concentrated in China, his works have covered broader geographic locations and subject matters. ZHANG has exhibited internationally in the museums and galleries in Europe, New York, Russia, Turkey, Bangladesh and Costa Rica, including solo exhibitions in Arles, France and New York. He was nominated for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2014. His artist books have been shortlisted in Kassel Photobook Dummy Awards 2014, and selected in the exhibitions at the New York Foundation for the Arts. Currently, ZHANG commutes between the US, China and Europe.