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Huan Zhang Edit Profile

performance artist , photographer , sculptor

For Zhang Huan, endurance is a key virtue of art. In his performance works, he puts his body through stress to highlight the human suffering in his native China. His sculptures and photographs also focus on the harsh yet enduring nature of grassroots Chinese society.


1999 – takes part in the 48th Venice Biennale.

2002 – participates in the Whitney Biennial, New York.

2009– stages Georg Friedrich Handel's opera Semele at the Theatre Royal de La Monnaie, Brussels.

Zhang Huan makes art out of challenge. His per-formances—as well as his sculptures—challenge both the stamina of his own body and the policies of his country's government.

Zhang first gained prominence in the nineties as a member of the Beijing East Village. This artistic commune transformed a rundown Beijing housing development into a hotbed of radical Chinese art—much like the bohemian artists in New York City had transformed their own "East Village" in the sixties.

Zhang soon began bringing his art to other countries.

Zhang's performances were also captured in photographic series.

Since 2005, Zhang has moved away from performance art as a medium of expression, using other methods to examine his culture-related themes.

The artist also produced several sculptures that touch upon China's Buddhist history, a heritage often repressed by his country's government. In one example, Long Ear Ash Head (2007), Zhang created his own piece of Chinese archaeological history—a fragmented Buddha-style head.


  • performance

    • My Boston

    • 12 Square Meters

    • 30o6m3:6skg

  • photographic series

    • Foam

    • Seeds

  • sculpture

    • Long Ear Ash Head