Is an image we see what we believe it is? Is it composed of the elements that we think we see, with techniques we think they are made with?
In his work, Zhang Wei conducts photographic surgery on celebrity portraits. Like a sculptor, he assembles and models their faces, which become contemporary Frankensteins. By recreating portraits of familiar people and faces, he asks questions about idolatry in terms of aesthetics, and offers viewers illusory familiarity.
The work is slow and tedious, requiring unending comparisons of noses and lips and eyes in his vast archive. It also takes a deft touch with Photoshop, and occasionally photographing a hat or other prop to include in the image. The hardest part is “reviving the human spirit,” Wei says, so the portraits don’t look too creepy. Each image takes about two weeks, though Hitler took more than a month.
Born in Shangluo, China, in 1977, Zhang Wei graduated from the department of photography by the Beijing Film Academy BFA. He lives and works in Beijing.
Donald John Trump
Yury Alekseyevich Gagarin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
Omar Mouammer al Gaddafi
George W. Bush
Osama Bin Laden
Barack Hussein Obama II