Zheng’s photos of China during the political and economic upheavals of the last decade are a combination of the over-familiar and the strange. Stylistically, they suggest an amalgam of August Sander, Diane Arbus, and Nan Goldin: Flash-lit, centered subjects and black-and-white prints; alluring yet uncomfortable intimacy; typologies of occupations and phyla of “freaks.” But while Zheng’s style is derivative, the world he uncovers is rich and varied. From the gruesome Waxwork in the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Museum, 2000, to Actors in a Film about the War Against the Japanese, 2000, to the hulking figure of A Poetess, Beijing, 1998, Zheng is both artist and documentarian. Perhaps the most apt comparison of all is to Robert Frank, who, like Zheng, set out to capture the complexities of a vast and heterogeneous nation.
From Artforum. Zheng’s work can be found at Yossi Milo gallery.