Foreword by Vishakha N. Desai. Text by Melissa Chiu, Kong Bu, Eleanor Heartney.
Published by Charta / Asia Society
Zhang Huan (born in China in 1965 and currently living in Shanghai) may be best known for his first performance, which sparked the cancellation of the group show at which it was staged. Of that encounter with China's censorship machinery, he says, "They had me write a self-criticism and pay a fine…for my 'misdeed,' promising that the exhibition would be reopened. I did what they said only for the sake of the show. But it was never opened." He continued exploring performance in private events--once testing the relationship between physical endurance and spiritual tranquility by covering himself with honey and lying in a squalid public toilet covered in flies--but he has never held another public performance in China. Zhang has been exploring cross-cultural life, and lately making introspective and even spiritual work, invoking the temporality of material existence by lying on a bed of ice surrounded by dogs at New York's P.S.1, for example. His critically acclaimed work is in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Saatchi Collection, the MacArthur Foundation and Yale University. Copublished with the Asia Society.
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