Conceptual and performance artist Michael Zheng was born and grew up in China. He studied computer science at the prestigious Tsinghua University in China. Afterwards he had a successful career working in Silicon Valley as an entrepreneur and computer software designer. Some years later he left his job to attend San Francisco Art Institute, where he studied with Paul Kos, Tony Labat and John Roloff. While he was in SFAI, he got a fellowship from Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, where he studied with Nary Ward and Xu Bing.
His thinking and work are influenced by his interest in Ch’an Buddhism’s notion of the intrinsic nature of all things. He often uses the spatial, historical and other contextual characteristics of the site or situation as the formal materials to create his work. Using an interventionist thinking and a conceptual approach infused with sincerity, absurdity and humor, he creates situations that often feel like aberrations and yet somehow point more aptly to the essence of things. He is questioning the established positions so that new perspectives can be experienced on the familiar. His works are characterized by a performative nature. They are often shown in the form of site-specific interventions, photographs, video, and sculptural installations.
Michael Zheng has exhibited his work worldwide. His main exhibitions include Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley/USA, Vancouver Biennial, Vancouver/CN, Macao Museum of Art, Macao/CN, Marina Abramovic Institute West, San Francisco/USA, The 9th Baltic Triennial of International Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art, London/UK, Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco/USA.