Beijing-based artist Zhao Bandi creates photographs and films of himself together with his toy panda, a constant companion and symbol of China’s one child policy. His work lies somewhere between art, advertising and public information, questioning with deadpan humour a variety of issues facing contemporary society such as war, terrorism and the environment. Together with exhibitions concurrently at Aspex Gallery Portsmouth and Manchester Art Gallery this was the largest presentation of Zhao Bandi’s work outside of China.
Fight Against SARS, 2003
Billboard site, Pershore Street, Birmingham City Centre/Chinese Quarter
Produced in 2003 in the midst of the viral epidemic that struck cities around the world, the billboard Fight Against SARS was a rallying-cry delivered by Zhao Bandi, in an attempt to convey at once the extreme and unprecedented effect of a global virus, together with the inability of those affected to defend themselves.
A Tale of Love Gone Wrong for Pandaman, 2003
This video detailed the court case between Zhao Bandi and two media companies who used his image Fight Against SARS without crediting him as the artist. In an attempt to test the system that he considers himself a willing exponent of, the artist appears forlorn in court as he sits with his faithful toy panda while his lawyers present as evidence to the court, a ‘Dear John’ letter from his girlfriend.
A Tale of Love Gone Wrong for Pandaman
Oozells Square, Brindleyplace
This special performance by Zhao Bandi was inspired by his film A Tale of Love Gone Wrong for Pandaman. Accompanied by a violinist, the artist reads aloud to the public the ‘Dear John’ letter sent from his one time lover. Sad yet tinged with amusement as she refers to him as her ‘stallion,’ the letter details the sad demise of their relationship and his alleged inadequacies.
OHO! Ask London
In this film Zhao Bandi interviews people he met whilst visiting London including a nurse, a priest and a stockbroker. Asking them the same questions about their views on subjects such as war, heath, money and love.