The Perfection Of Imperfection

Shihan Zhang

“I cling to my imperfection, as the very essence of my being.” — Anatole France

Artist Statement

This series of flexible sculptures use adaptable materials, wires, paper clips, wooden frames, plants and flowers. The soft materials include a range of organza to express “imperfect and incomplete.” The well-worn wooden frame expresses how time elapses. Using varied lengths, widths, lines, and shapes, I connect, disconnect, and overlap the components of the sculpture so as to showcase the correlation between perfection and destruction, order and mess, with all the parts of the artwork being far from perfect and organized at all.

Suggesting perfection can stem from imperfection, I resolutely choose organza over other materials that are much easier to be distorted and reshaped. Organza is so thin and sheer a fabric that it is not the ideal material to present distortion and destruction. Therefore, organza, the “imperfect” material for this artwork, functions as a hint facilitating the audience to grasp the message I wish to communicate.   

This series of artworks is my ambitious attempt to exhibit the idea that the beauty of perfection results from imperfection. My inspiration was ignited when I visited

the Nitobe Memorial Garden at the UBC in 2021. Instead of green lawns, I saw the pathway completely covered by moss. Moss, as most would perceive, is a nuisance to a lawn. However, the pathway of the Nitobe Memorial Garden was amazingly beautiful. This aesthetic is called Wabi-sabi in Japanese, a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection.

Most aspire to achieve personal successes by improving themselves non-stop, hoping to be more perfect and more competent in order to be and remain permanent and complete in every aspect of life. However, they fail to acknowledge one important fact that perfection is a dynamic and varying process rather than a static state. Flaws, mistakes, and failures all contribute to perfection in their own manners over time; meanwhile, established perfection erodes and eventually collapses into chaos or destruction, that is, imperfection. Life is not an on or off switch; rather, it is a spectrum of all colours. Anyone who truly wishes to find one’s life purpose shall embrace the idea that imperfection and perfection co-exist simultaneously in everyone’s life, and such coexistence defines the meaning of life. 

Time Stand Still

Burlap, high sheen matte organza, matte organza, paper clips, silk organza, trim bundle, wire, wooden frame

As Time Goes By

Burlap, Bemberg lining, Daytona upholstery vinyl, horsehair, high sheen organza, matte organza, spider tulle, silk organza, wire

Destruction & Rebirth Ⅰ

Mixed media

Destruction & Rebirth Ⅱ

Mixed media

Destruction & Rebirth Ⅲ

Mixed media

Shihan Zhang

I'm seeking opportunities
Contact Me

Vancouver based artist Shihan Zhang works mainly on sculpture and abstract printmaking. The central theme of her creative practice is the idea that the beauty of perfection results from imperfection. Her work recently utilizes different adaptable and “imperfect” materials to create flexible sculptures that respond to a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection.

Profile image of Shihan Zhang