As an internationally renowned contemporary Chinese artist, Zhang Huan has created a series of performance art which challenges the physical limits as well as spiritual perseverance. He has participated in a number of important Biennales and art exhibitions including the Venice Biennale, the Whitney Biennial, NY, the Asian Society in USA and Vancouver Art Gallery, etc. His current solo exhibition at the in-store art gallery Espace Louis Vuitton Macau from April 8th through to July 3th, 2011 displays his previous and new creations including cow-skin sculptures, ash paintings and sculptures, a a carved antique wood door and many other art creations from 2007 to 2011.
Like “the new Silk Road of life experience”, Zhang Huan’s life and work over the past decade combines the idea of western culture with Chinese’s connotation due to his travel to New York to his return to China. From his earlier performance art to his “Ash”, Zhang is arguably one of the contemporary Chinese artists most influenced by western culture, while retaining the traditional elements of eastern culture in China then expressing them in different types of media.
Zhang’s ideas have really been realised in recent years with his “Ash” series.He has abandoned the so-called Eastern or Western manifestation modes and instead he tends to view art from the perspective of the audience. He adds his performance art to his creations even before they are seen by the public. Zhang who has converted to Buddhism collects ashes from incense left by pilgrims at various temples, thus embodying various elements such as the religious and secular worlds, the hopes of men and women, human piety, spirituality and desire. He integrates these elements into sculptures and ash paintings with imagery which are then presented as performance art. It does not matter how the images are created in these sculptures and ash paintings since using ash as a medium expands the artistic power of the works themselves.
At Zhang’s “East Wind, West Wind”audiences from different backgrounds are invited to share their visual experience of the profound works by an artist whose background encompasses eastern and western cultures. Among them, “Ash Buddha” and “Ash Jesus” are presented for the first time, which highlight the likenesses and differences between eastern and western religions, enabling the audience to further explore the culture we share.
“East Wind, West Wind” is Zhang Huan’s first comprehensive solo exhibition held in Hong Kong and Macau. The artist will be present at the exhibition hall to discuss with the audience the collaboration of fashion and art under various myths, and to examine the thoughts of contemporary artists in this consumer oriented era, as well as to question about how the artist continues to create a critical artwork but at the same time reflect the Chinese culture and aesthetic standards.
About Zhang Huan
Born in 1965 in Anyang, Henan, China, he now lives and works in Shanghai and New York. Zhang Huan is one of the most controversial Chinese contemporary artists. He held art performances in the early years, then moved to New York in 1998, became a full time artist and was engaged in a variety of media art forms. In 2005, Zhang Huan opened a studio in Shanghai, thus expanding different kinds of art forms and boundaries. At the same time, he also set up Gao An Foundation to help in the poor areas in Western China, Zhang Huan established Zhang Huan primary schools and he even aided scholarships in the top ten university in China.