© Adrien Bernard / Fondation Louis Vuitton
Zhang Huan

© Adrien Bernard / Fondation Louis Vuitton

Zhang Huan

Born in 1965, in Anyang (China)

Lives and works in Shanghai (China)

Steeped in Buddhist philosophy, Zhang Huan explores themes relating to the mind/body connection and to cycles of life and death.

After graduating from the China Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing in 1993, Huan became known for his provocative performances in which he directly confronts water, blood, ice, and dead and living animals, testing his own physical and psychological limits. 12m2 (1994) is one of his most famous performances, for which the artist smeared himself in fish oil and honey and sat in a Beijing public lavatory while insects covered him. He pursued his work as a performer during his time in New York, from 1998 to 2005. His subsequent return to China marked a turning point. Having become a Buddhist, he has worked with 100 assistants to produce sculptures, installations and paintings that draw on religious iconography as well as contemporary Chinese history.

Selected Bibliography

Selig Brown, Kathryn H. ; Pace Gallery (New York). Zhang Huan : Poppy fields : [exhibition], Pace Gallery, New York, September 20 - October 26, 2013. New York : Pace Gallery, 2013. 

Luard, Honey ; Vine, Richard ; White Cube. Zhang Huan : the mountain is still a mountain : [exhibition, London, White Cube, 20 july - 26 August 2012]. London : White Cube, 2012. 

Dziewior, Yilmaz ; Goldberg, RoseLee ; Storr, Robert. Zhang Huan. London : Phaidon, 2009. (Contemporary artists). 

Kunitz, Daniel ; PaceWildenstein (New York, N.Y.). Zhang Huan : blessings : [exhibition], May 9-July 25, 2008, PaceWildenstein, New York. New York : PaceWildenstein, 2008.

Chiu, Melissa. Zhang Huan : altered states : [exhibition, Asia Society and Museum, New York, 6 September-20 January 2008]. New York : Asia Society ; Milano : Charta, 2007.

***   All materials available at the Documentation Centre of the Fondation  ***