Mengzhi Zheng lives and works in Lyon (FR).
Born in 1983 in Ruian China, Mengzhi arrives in France at the age of seven. He grows up in Paris. He joins the Villa Arson in Nice (France) from 2006 to 2011 and obtains the DNSEP with honors, and studies simultaneously at the Städelschule in Frankfurt (DE) from 2009 to 2011.
Mengzhi develops an artwork around the general concept of space and dream of architecture.
At first, his work takes shape through the practice of drawing and collage. He begins a long and meticulous work of etching : reproducing images from photographies he has taken during a return trip to China in 2008. He speaks strangely of « uninhabited space » questioning our practice of contemporary architecture.
His many sketchbooks evoke « inarchitectures » : drawings that appear unfinished or under construction. He experimented this relation between body and architecture through intimate - living and working - spaces before capturing them on photography : he composes and recomposes the landscape by moving objects until he obtains a flattened image of the room. It is a mental photography of the place he unfolds.
These experiments lead him to work in volume and produce small sculptures made of paper, wood and cardboard. He builds non-functional places that he imagines while evoking living spaces. These manipulable objects, as he calls them, could be then reproduced on a new - other - scale. He also invites the public into a - mental and/or physical - crossing, thus questioning our human condition through architecture. It’s a perceptual experience aimed at questionning our relation to the body-object in its prefabricated spaces. These « Other » spaces confront us to a certain measure of the world.
Mengzhi Zheng always works with the notion of gesture, and translates continual dualities: art / architecture, full / empty, finished / unfinished, folded / unfolded, horizontal / vertical, inside / outside, well done / poorly done, constructed / deconstructed ... as he has been doing since 2014 for his series of « abandoned models » (maquettes abandonnées) which he improvises during a very short time period. This translates an ambivalent need to evoke his double identity, and his desire to make a synthesis between the different visual cultures.
During the same year, he achieved a monumental artwork of 8MX8M in the business area of La Défense in Paris, a permanent and in situ artwork in the entrance hall of the ERDF tower. Mengzhi also participated in exhibitions at the art galery Martine et Thibault de la Châtre (Cosmic Players, Paris, 2014), at the Cité Internationale des Arts (collective FrenchFries, Paris, 2013), and has recently presented his work at the Verney-Carron Space in Lyon (New Scale, 2015), as well as in exhibitions linked to the Biennale of Lyon at the Capitainerie (Passage) and at the Halle Girard Hors-les-Murs of the Palais de Tokyo in Paris (Le parfait Flâneur).
Mengzhi is the prizewinner artist for his monumental art project highlighting the architectural gesture of the parking Lyon Parc Auto (LPA) des Halles of Lyon, and is in charge of creating the sculptural lay-out of its top floor terrasse announced to take place at the end of 2017. With this project in collaboration with the architecture firm William Wilmotte, Mengzhi enters the history of car parks in Lyon as Buren or Morellet did in the past. Initiated by Georges Verney-Carron, the artist/architecture relation for public spaces has accompanied LPA parks for nearly 30 years.