Natural Impersonation explores the construction of sexuality and identity in the context of the unyielding repression and censorship of homosexuality in China. Through portraits of my friends and family members, as well as still life images made with low-value found objects, I construct scenes inflected with desire, trauma, fantasy, humor, fetish, and violence. My experience as a “closeted” gay man has led me to reexamine queer invisibility as a direct rebellion against a phallocentric, patriarchal society. Within a loop of erotic imagery, I hope to engage the viewer in an alternate narrative that challenges the rigid, stereotypical codes of gender and sexuality, and offers a utopian framing of queer identity.
ZHIDONG ZHANG is a lens-based artist from Hunan, China. He holds a B.Sc in Applied Mathematics from Central South University and an MFA in photography at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. His work poses ongoing questions about representation, identity construction, and the role of imagery in contemporary culture.