Lying was shameful for Zebra Zhang in his childhood.
Zebra used to live with his parents in an aged, haunted apartment, where the entire floor of eight families, shared one squat toilet near the staircase. Their closest neighbour was a ghost-like old couple. But the gloom did not wipe away Zebra’s obsession towards video games. He often sneaked into his parents’ bedroom, where the computer was at, when mom and dad were out working. One night, Zebra was having fun with his games as usual, and suddenly, he heard his dad unlocking the outer door. It freaked him out – he was not expecting his dad to come home so soon. Zebra only had a short time to force a shutdown and pretended he was enjoying viewing the ruined structures outside the window.
‘Were you playing games?’ Dad asked, and his voice was burning.
‘No.’ Zebra faced out of the window, and his thoughts were frozen by fear.
‘Were you playing games?’ Dad touched the back of the computer screen with his hand, and it was hot.
‘No.’ Zebra Zhang repeated like a dummy.
‘No? No!?’ Dad drew out the metal hanger and whipped it at Zebra’s butt. Zebra tried to dodge, but he failed. ‘Lie? Where did you learn to lie?’
Many whips were taken, and Zebra was screaming hoarsely. Dad then took the game disc out, broke it in half and threw it out of the window.
‘No!’ Zebra cried. He had saved his money for two months for this game, and he had barely started playing it. He struggled up from the ground, reached out his hand and tried to catch the disc. But the disc scrapes spun into the ruin like two frisbees.
Lying and getting caught was shameful for Zebra Zhang.
Zebra Zhang loves stories, especially fiction. But not every aspect of them, just the parts that confuse him with reality and fantasy. He wonders about what makes a thing real and what proves something a lie. Zebra Zhang regularly presents his art pieces with narratives. The narratives are often not completed in a consecutive order but pulled up by fragments. Zebra’s choice of materials is varied - installations, pictures, film, sounds, and texts, or a combination of them. He believes the mixture of materials make his works physically more honest by offering multi degrees of information. For most of the time, his works are obviously fictional, but the works are desperately attempting to prove themselves to be real. Zebra wants to create an atmosphere of uncertainty, to swing in between truth and lies, and back again.