Zhang Huan: Neither Coming Nor Going
Zhang Huan’s second solo show at PaceWildenstein, features Rulai, a monumental Buddha and recent large-scale works on paper based on the 7thcentury Chinese prophecy book Tui Bei Tu. The exhibition follows the debut of his newly conceived Handel opera, now scheduled to tour China in 2010, as well as the publication of a new Phaidon monograph.
NEW YORK, November 24, 2009—Following the critically-acclaimed September premiere of Semele, a new production of George Frideric Handel’s opera directed and designed by Zhang Huan and presented to audiences at The National Opera of Belgium in Brussels (scheduled to tour China in 2010), the artist will be the subject of his second solo exhibition at PaceWildenstein.
Neither Coming Nor Going will be on view at 545 West 22nd Street, New York City, from December 11, 2009 through January 30, 2010. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, December 10th from 6-8 p.m. Representing the artist’s continuing investigation of humanity through tradition, historical associations, and personal experiences, Neither Coming Nor Going will feature a monumental ash Buddha, Rulai (2008-2009), measuring 18′ 1/2″ x 14′ 10″ x 10′ 11-1/2″,as well as a series of unique large-scale works on paper made in 2006-2008.
The compacted ash surface of Rulai, supported by an internal metal frame, is heavily embedded with miniature porcelain Buddha relics, copper offering dishes, miniature skulls and unburned joss sticks. The strikingly beautiful grisaille palette of the sculpture is sharply contrasted with blood red paper wrappers, clustered around the crown and face of the deity. Burning incense pours out from Buddha’s head, activating a traditionally static art form with performative aspects, one of the artist’s hallmarks.
Zhang Huan video of burning Buddha’s
Using ink, paper handmade from the bark of Mulberry trees, and in some works feathers to build up the surface, Zhang Huan depicts animals and landscapes in the series of unique works on paper included in this exhibition. He references the celebrated 17th-century Chinese painter and calligrapher Bada Shanren as well as Tui Bei Tu, a seventh-century Tang Dynasty prophecy book which reappeared in second-hand book stores in China in the 1990s after being banned by the Communist party. Tui Bei Tu offered an alternative to traditional Eastern and Western systems and presented insight into China’s future, utilizing drawings and poems to prophesize a sequence of sixty events.