Rulai (2008-2009), by Zhang Huan, via PaceWildenstein
Currently on view at PaceWildenstein in New York is Zhang Huan’s “Neither Coming Nor Going.” The artist’s second show at PaceWildenstein; this exhibition emphasizes the artist’s ongoing exploration of what it means to be human through tradition, historical associations and personal experience. The show will feature a monumental ash Buddha, Rulai (2008-2009) and also a series of unique large-scale works on paper.
More text and related links after the jump….
Tui Bei Tu No.71 (2008) by Zhang Huan, via PaceWildenstein
The surface of Rulai is covered with ash and is supported by an internal metal frame which is full of miniature porcelain Buddha relics, copper offering dishes, miniature skulls and unburned joss sticks. Blood red paper wrappers surround the crown and the face of the deity in great contrast to the gray palette of the sculpture. Out of the Buddha’s head are burning incense sticks reminding the viewer of the traditional nature of the standing Buddha.
Tui Bei Tu No.52 (2007) by Zhang Huan, via PaceWildenstein
In other works Huan uses ink, handmade paper from the bark of Mulberry trees and also feathers in select pieces. Here he depicts animals and various landscapes which reference the renowned 17th Century Chinese painter and calligrapher Bada Shanren and also Tui Bei Tu, a seventh-century Tang Dynasty prophecy book which reappeared in second-hand book stores in China in the 1990s after it was banned by the Communist party.
Tui Bei Tu No.53 (2007) by Zhang Huan, via PaceWildenstein
Zhang Huan is now regarded as one of the most influential and provocative Chinese contemporary artists today. Early in his career he worked mainly as a performance artist exploring similar existential and social themes. Huan was born in 1965 in a small town called Anyang in the Henan Province just a few years before the Cultural Revolution. At fourteen years old he began his artistic training in the Su-Style otherwise known as the Soviet Style. He subsequently studied Chinese ink painting, drawing, oil painting and art history for his undergraduate studies in 1984. A few years later he went to Beijing to study oil painting. It was during this time that he began experimenting with performance art soon to become the one of the principle elements of his work. His work has since been exhibited in many renowned international galleries and museums. Huan now lives in Shanghai after living and working for eight years in New York City.
Some images of the Zhang Huan from previous performance works.
Zhang Huan: Neither Coming Nor Going (PaceWildenstein)
Zhang Huan’s Buddha Means Business (Art in America)
Neither Coming Nor Going, Zhang Huan’s Second Show at PaceWildenstein [Artdaily]