Zhang Huan "Blessings"

The Pace Gallery (545 W 22nd St)

This event has ended.

Canal Building, a new large-scale work, will be completed during the first weekend of the exhibition, allowing the public to see the artist’s working methods

One year following the announcement that Zhang Huan joined PaceWildenstein, the artist will have his first exhibition with the gallery. Zhang Huan "Blessings" will be on view at PaceWildenstein’s two Chelsea venues. The artist will be in New York City working on the monumental installations prior to the openings. A catalogue with an essay by Daniel Kunitz and artist statements from a recent interview will be published to coincide with the exhibitions.

At 545 West 22nd Street, Canal Building, a painting of Chinese laborers made entirely of grains of ash from burned temple incense, will be created on site by the artist and his studio assistants in advance of the opening and during the first few days of the exhibition. The image, based on a vintage photograph, of workers digging a canal will completely cover the top face of an enormous slab of compressed ash. Measuring 5’ 11" high x 19’ 8" wide x 59’ 1" in length, the proportions of the slab will only allow the image to be viewed from scaffolding which will be erected alongside the piece. In his essay, Kunitz likens this process to Zhang Huan’s earlier performance pieces which first brought him renown in China and the West. Kunitz states that with this installation, Canal Building, the artist has come full circle. “Zhang describes the work as representing ‘who I am as an artist.’ It is indeed a unification of who he is and has been as an artist; a unification of artistic modes; a concretization—in painting and sculpture—of a lifetime’s performance. And one senses in it a circle being completed, the rebel punk artist who began with a performance in a toilet, and who needed to leave his country in order to find his history, has come back: the prodigal son has returned home.”

The artist first began developing his Ash Paintings upon moving to Shanghai in 2006, after eight years of living in New York City. Back in China the artist was struck by the number of Buddhist devotees who would pray to the deity for hours on end and burn incense as offerings. The ash soon became the medium for both his paintings and sculpture. Zhang Huan has spoken about how, for him, “all the dreams, aspirations, all the spiritual longings, all the ideas that people have” are infused into the ash. “It’s the collective spirit and collective thinking, and collection wishes of the people in China.”



from May 09, 2008 to July 26, 2008
Opening reception: May 8, 6-8pm


Zhang Huan

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