RoseLee Goldberg, Yilmaz Dziewior, Robert Storr onnie Butler
Zhang Huan has emerged as one of the most important artists of his time, a fearless explorer of the limits of the human body and a key figure in the flourishing Chinese art scene.
His artwork continues to explore the tragedies of the human condition and the spiritual essence of Buddhism in a range of media that includes photography, painting and monumental sculpture. Buddhist themes became more prominent in his work after a visit to Tibet in 2005. There, he began collecting fragments of Buddhist sculptures, which he then used as models for massive copper figures. Upon his return to Shanghai, he began to use incense ash from local Buddhist temples in his sculptures and paintings.
In the Interview, RoseLee Goldberg discusses with Zhang his life and motivations, his childhood in the rural province of Tangyin and his realisation that his body could be the best vehicle to express himself. Yilmaz Dziewior’s survey analyses the evolution of Zhang’s work from his early, controversial performances in Beijing through to his interest in Buddhism and his recent development of monumental sculptures and paintings, some requiring over a hundred assistants. Robert Storr focuses on Canal Building (2007), an epic ash painting that serves as a testament to the tremendous power of collective labour.