Zhang Xu Zhan: Jungle Jungle

23 June – 6 October 2024 (Level 3)


ILHAM is delighted to present Jungle Jungle, an exhibition by Taiwanese artist Zhang Xu Zhan. This marks the first time that the work of Zhang Xu Zhan, who was the Deutsche Bank’s Artist of the Year for 2021, is being shown in Malaysia.

First exhibited at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Jungle Jungle features the film Compound Eyes of Tropical, which won the Golden Horse Award for best animated short film in 2022. Other works in the exhibition include video animation and mixed media sculptures, as well as paper puppets and a site-specific paper installation, inspired by Taiwan's traditional cultural technique known as "huzhi (糊紙)" (papier-mâché), which is commonly used in ceremonial festivals. 

Jungle Jungle explores the commonality and plurality between different cultures, examining the way the meaning of music can change in circulation and the way oral stories and folk tales can adapt in different regions to produce localised versions.

While participating in an artist residency programme in Indonesia, the artist came across the Southeast Asian folktale Sang Kancil and the Crocodiles. The folktale, about a clever mousedeer who manages to outwit his enemies, has similarities with folktales from other parts of Asia. The artist explores this commonality by adapting the original story with elements from similar folktales such as The Mouse and the Buffalo from the artist’s homeland Taiwan, and The Rabbit and the Crab from China, among others. The imagery of different animal forms rapidly interchanging expands the space for interpretation and opens up the exploration of global connection through the textual similarity of folk tales. 

The audience views the narrative through the vision of the fly’s compound eye, where the folktale represents a form of container, filled with symbolic metaphors such as the mirror and shadows. Instead of telling a single original story, the folktale is viewed through multiple perspectives, reflecting the flow of culture, and the interconnections and affinities between humans and animals.  

Exhibition producer    Chen Hsiang-Wen
Art coordinator    Chan Yu-Chu
Assistant    Chen Liang-Jie 
Sound design    Feng Zi-Ming

This exhibition is supported by Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Malaysia and the Ministry of Culture, Taiwan.

ARTIST TALK - Sunday, 23 June, 3pm

Please join us for a talk by artist Zhang Xu Zhan, moderated by artist and curator Yap Sau Bin 


A contemporary visual artist and animation filmmaker, Zhang Xu Zhan (b. 1988, Taipei, Taiwan) obtained an M.A. from the New Media Department of the National Taipei University of the Arts. A fourth-generation descendant of a family paper crafting business, he is known for his expertise in crafting elaborate paper effigies. His artistic practice encompasses a diverse range of artistic forms including animation, video art, experimental film, stop-motion paper doll techniques, and multi-channel video installations. In 2021, he was named Deutsche Bank’s Artist of the Year and awarded the Best Animated Short Film at the Golden Horse Film Awards in 2022. Zhang Xu Zhan has participated in numerous international exhibitions including the 2020 Yokohama Triennale and the 2018 Shanghai Biennale. His animation and video works are in the collections of a number of institutions.