ZHANG HUAN

ז’אנג הואן
ЧЖАН ХУАНЬ
張洹

pagoda

Photo-Joshua White 2011-9948

source: roughdreamsfr

Zhang Huan est un artiste chinois né en 1965 à Henan. Après avoir étudié la peinture et enseigné l’histoire de l’art, il passe à l’art de la performance, considérant cette forme d’expression comme un moyen d’interagir avec le monde. Son corps devient son support et son mode d’expression. Dans les années 1990, Zhang se rend célèbre et s’attire la censure du gouvernement pour ses œuvres choquantes dans lesquelles il soumet son corps nu à la douleur ou la torture. Installé à New York en 1998, Zhang se promène dans la rue avec des morceaux de viande crue attachés au corps, créant l’image d’un énorme morceau de viande en mouvement. Ses œuvres d’auto-expression lui ont également valu une reconnaissance unanime.
En 2009, il crée sa première sculpture, intitulée Pagoda. Représentant une cloche de plusieurs mètres de haut, la sculpture est constituée de briques prélevées sur des chantiers de démolition à Shanghai. Au centre de la cloche, un porc empaillé apparait au milieu d’une fenêtre qui laisse s’échapper des nuages de cendres d’encens dans la galerie.
Pagoda est en partie un hommage à Zhu Ganggiang, un porc devenu célèbre après avoir survécu 49 jours dans des décombres, après le dramatique tremblement de terre survenu en 2008 dans la province du Sichuan. Ayant eu vent de l’histoire de ce porc, Zhang décida de l’adopter et de l’élever dans son atelier, où un employé est payé à temps plein pour s’occuper de son bien-être. Le nombre « 49 » (duquel l’exposition tire son nom) a un double sens : il évoque à la fois l’histoire de Zhu Ganggiang, bien entendu, mais aussi la croyance Bouddhiste selon laquelle l’âme resterait sur terre pendant 49 jours entre la mort de son propriétaire et sa réincarnation.
En plus de Pagoda, Zhang vient d’exposer à Los Angeles une nouvelle série de sculptures faites à partir de briques et représentant des porcs et des crânes. Faisant à nouveau référence à Zhu Ganggiang; et plus largement au thème de la mort, les sculptures viennent compléter Pagoda tant par leur forme que par leur teneur émotionnelle.
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source: arrestedmotion

Culver City gallery-goers were treated to a fascinating collection of brick sculptures from Shanghai and NY based Zhang Huan. The versatile Chinese artist started off as a noted performance artist but has since branched out to many other art forms including the discipline of choice for this 49 Days exhibition at Blum & Poe, also his first solo ever in Los Angeles.

The body of work centers around the story of Zhu Gangqiang (Cast-Iron Pig), the nickname given to a pig that survived for 49 days trapped in the ruins of the devastating Sichuan earthquake of 2008 before it was rescued. The resiliency of the porcine in question touched the heart of Huan (perhaps due to the fact that much of the artist’s performance art is centered around the ideas of endurance) – so much so that the lucky porker was adopted into his studio. Also of significance to the artist, who frequently incorporates Buddhist thought into his work, 49 days is believed to be the amount of time one’s soul remains on earth between death and reincarnation.

Filling the spacious gallery are multiple large-scale pieces built from century-old bricks salvaged from demolished buildings in China, all taking the form of pigs and skulls including the centerpiece seen above entitled Pagoda, a 20 foot bell shaped structure where a taxidermied pig intermittently emerges in clouds of incense ash.

The exhibition runs until July 9th, so you still have time to make plans to check it out. For those not in the LA area, check out more opening photos taken for us by Brandon Shigeta after the jump…
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source: roughdreamsfr

For nearly two decades, Zhang Huan has established himself as one of the preeminent artists to emerge from China since the early 90s. Zhang has developed a vast body of work ranging from endurance-based body performance (while living in New York) to large-scale public commissions, painting and sculpting with incense ash and even reinterpreting Handel’s classic opera Semele at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Belgium and the Poly Theater, Beijing.
Central to the 49 Days exhibition at Blum & Poe will be Pagoda, 2009, an imposing brick sculpture originally displayed at the Shanghai Art Museum. The twenty-two foot tall bell shaped pagoda is comprised of salvaged brick collected from demolition sites surrounding Shanghai (centuries old buildings that have been bulldozed in place of modern architectural progress). Near the center of the structure is a carved window from which a taxidermied pig periodically emerges and from where clouds of incense ash are dramatically emitted into the gallery.
Pagoda serves partly as a tribute to Zhu Gangqiang, or the « Cast-Iron Pig », now famous for having survived 49 days in rubble, following China’s historic 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Upon hearing its story of survival, Zhang negotiated the pig’s purchase and has subsequently adopted him into his studio, employing a full-time caretaker and making his likeness a central part of his artistic practice. The number « 49 » (from which the show takes its title) is dually significant, both for its relationship to Zhu Gangqiang’s story and for its connection to Buddhist thought, as the Buddhists believe 49 days is the amount of time ones soul remains on earth between death and reincarnation.

In addition to Pagoda, Zhang will present a series of newly constructed brick sculptures taking the form of pigs (often larger than life) and skulls. Relating back to the story of Zhu Gangqiang, and larger notions of mortality, the pigs and skulls compliment Pagoda in their formal construction and emotional tenor. Zhang will present sculptures that function as both freestanding floor pieces and two-dimensional hanging wall pieces, in some cases weighing in excess of 4,000 pounds. The sculptures testify to Zhang Huan’s interest in personal, community and artistic survival; topics he has been exploring in depth since his physically intense performance pieces of the early 90s. The brick may also be viewed metaphorically, as the works are constructed by the hands of Chinese laborers, representing the building blocks of a new world super power and place of constant reinvention that depends on its vast population to ensure progress as a nation.
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source: bhasiaart
Zhang Huan, artista chinês aclamado internacionalmente, nasceu em 1965 em Anyang, Província de Henan, e atualmente reside e trabalha em Xangai. Ativo em Pequim na década de 1990, ele foi considerado um dos maiores artistas de vanguarda do país. Morando em Nova York de 1998 a 2005, ganhou reconhecimento internacional.
Voltando para Xangai em 2005, ele fundou Zhang Huan Studio onde continuou a ampliar o escopo de seu trabalho artístico, criando novas formas e explorando novas áreas. Suas pinturas com cinzas acrescentaram uma nova técnica à história da arte. Ele abriu caminho com ainda outras técnicas como escultura em couro de boi e em portas, e xilogravuras com penas, para citar algumas.
Exposições individuais aconteceram no Norton Museum of Art na Florida, Shangai Art Museum, Gallery of Ontario em Toronto, Canadá, e Palazzo Vecchio e Forte de Belvedere em Florence, Italy. Suas obras podem ser encontradas nas coleções de museus de arte contemporânea e de fundações em grandes cidades ao redor do mundo.
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source: artnet
Zhang Huan (Chinese, b.1965) is a performance artist, painter, photographer, and sculptor best known for performances that test his own physical and mental endurance, create symbolic self-portraits, and question the role of family and culture in shaping our way of thinking. Born in An Yang City, He Nan Province, Huan studied traditional painting at Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts. Inspired by reading about performance art at the Central Academy library and seeing the photography of Tseng Kwong-Chi, Huan staged his first performance titled Angel (1993) at the National Art Museum of China. In this work, Huan laid down almost naked in the entrance hall and poured over his body red liquid and parts of a dismembered doll, referencing the Chinese government policy that requires women to have an abortion if they conceive more than one child. In these early years, Huan was part of the East Village group, avant-garde performance artists living on the outskirts of Beijing. Huan continued to make performance art in museums and at public events during a period living in the United States. After he moved to Shanghai in 2006, Huan has focused on sculpture, woodworking, and painting. In a recent series titled Memory Doors, begun in 2006, he created screen prints of photographs depicting Chinese historical events on doors that he found in Shanxi Province. All of Huan’s work has a spiritual foundation, but his interest in Tibetan Buddhism, which he cites as a key influence, is evident in a recent series of paintings and sculptures made from ash collected at Buddhist temples. Huan emphasizes family and cultural connections in the photographic series Foam (1998), ten pictures that feature the artist’s face covered in foam with members of his family bursting out of his mouth. Similarly, his series of nine photographs titled Family Tree (2000) documents the artist’s face as calligraphers painted personal and cultural stories on his skin until it was covered in ink. Huan has held solo exhibitions at many galleries and museums, including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Taipei, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Shanghai Art Museum, and the Haunch of Venison Gallery in London. He is represented by the Pace Gallery in New York. He lives and works Shanghai and New York.
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source: pacificasiamuseumorg
Foam Series
Detail, Foam series, Zhang Huan, 1998, c-print on Fuji archival paper, 60 x 40 in., courtesy of Rubell Family Collection
Zhang Huan gained international attention through provocative performances in which he often incorporated his own body. In the self-portrait Foam, he is shown devouring an old family photograph while covered in soapy foam. Zhang’s act of simultaneously cleansing his body and consuming the photos represents a desire to absorb and make his relatives literally a part of him.
Although it is anticipated that Banquet exhibition will stimulate a dialog between ethnicities, generations, popular culture, and history, the exhibition is primarily a sensory experience. Banquet will offer a lavish “feast” that will delight the senses with a varied flavors and textures. Traditional salty elements balance sweet essences. Sour bits mingled with hot spicy flourishes. Familiar ingredients combined and prepared in new ways result in a visual food fusion that nourishes the mind, body, and soul.