Since graduating with an industrial design degree from the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, Zhipeng Tan has focused on the ancient technique of lost-wax casting. Through this foundry process, rich in heritage and tradition, Tan explores his interest in organic forms. Often inspired by his environmental surroundings, such as water and plants, he explores anthropomorphic themes, as well. Though trained as an industrial designer, he has become an accomplished self-taught sculptor, eagerly exploring the elastic and permeable boundaries between art and design and finding a harmonious fusion of sculpture and furniture, provocative objects of both beauty and utility.
In spite of his rigorous training in computer modeling, Tan develops all of his concepts exclusively with hand drawing, preferring the direct connection to his work that sketching provides. As he likes to say, “Every line in the artwork is touched by me.” Most of his work is hand-sculpted in clay, and the final work is achieved through casting, hammering, welding and polishing. He has chosen brass as his preferred medium in part because of its connection to historical tradition, but most especially because of its warm color, rich luster and versatility.
Though from his early work, one may sense the influence of Joan Miró, Henry Moore and Constantin Brancusi, and in his more recent pieces there is a nod to the Post-Pop sensibilities of Jeff Koons and Takashi Murakami, the work of Zhipeng Tan is thoroughly original, an expression of his exuberance and imagination. In all of his work, one may see an exploration of our fundamental humanity and a desire to discover worlds within worlds. From the 33 Step Chair, composed of a sculpture of an inverted human spine, to the Lotus series of tables and chairs, inspired by the structures of plants, to the TanTan series, depicting the characters from his imaginary utopian world of extraterrestrial adventurers, there is a deep and vital questing to connect the imaginary and the tangible worlds.
Despite the fact that he graduated from art school recently, he has been proactively exploring design possibilities in a contemporary context with mastering and applying the ancient brass casting techniques. He has been constantly launching new collections and giving birth to his ideas and soon has been realized as one of the most influential internationally-rising artists, with his works acquired by a number of top interior designers and architects, art collectors, and museums. From the Melting Collection, his Melting Console Table was born and specifically designed for Kylie Jenner, acquired through Martyn Lawrence Bullard Design. His works have been recognized worldwide and acquired by the world’s best interior designers including but not limited to, Ingrao Inc., David Scott Interiors, Peter Marino Architects, and Ashiesh Shah Architecture + Design. From the Lotus collection, the Lotus Telephone Table has joined in the Pizzuti Collection of the Columbus Museum of Art, and the Lotus Coffee Table and Lotus Side Table from the same collection have been acquired by the HE Art Museum in Shunde, China for its permanent collection.