lives and works
Shanghai, China and New York, USA
MFA, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China, 1993
about the artist
Zhang Huan is the exposed protagonist of some of the earliest and most canonical performances to have emerged from China, and as such has become one of the most important global practitioners of performance art today. Challenging his physical and mental tolerance by subjecting his body under extreme conditions, he expressed the senseless, the absurd, and the unbearable psychology of a rigid and monitored society. Since his performance work (documented in photography), the artist has ventured into myriad other modes of expression, such as painting, sculpture, and installation, where he speaks as a global citizen of Chinese heritage. Throughout the years, the artist has consistently featured himself heavily in his art—Zhang is the medium used to probe existential questions at the world surrounding, then to witness, to receive, and to evaluate its response. His work heavily discussed in academic texts and widely reviewed in art publications, the artist has shown extensively all over the globe at museums and galleries in China, New Zealand, Australia, the United States, Spain, Italy, France, Canada, Germany, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Russia. Numerous monographs dedicated to Zhang’s artistic enterprise have been published; the artist has also completed many international art projects and commissions. Accessioned into many public and private collections, his work has been included in group shows held at spaces such as the Guggenheim Museum in New York, USA; the PS1 Center for Contemporary Art in New York, USA; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, USA; the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Israel; the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, Spain; and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, France.