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Pace Galleries

Zhang Huan on Art Observed's Go See List

Currently on view at the Pace Gallery in Beijing is an exhibition of recent works by Zhang Huan. Most renowned for his performance artwork, in recent years he has returned to working in a variety of mediums including painting, sculpture, and large-scale installations. “Free Tiger Returns to the Mountains” includes ash paintings (works made of a mixture of ashes collected from temples and adhesive) and cowhide sculptures. The paintings were created from his imagination instead using a photographic image. They are an expressive recreation of the artist’s idea of wildlife. Zhang’s ash paintings portray a Chinese tiger, one the most endangered animals on earth. China’s rapid urbanization has only made finding land and proper care for endangered animals more difficult. Just as the tiger needs to find protected land for survival, in these works Zhang also refers to human beings’ own needs within nature. The Cowskin Buddha Face series are made from cowhide. They refer back to Huan’s childhood in the rural Henan province where he used to ride oxen. The hides recall the natural cycle of life, which are now seemingly reborn as sculptures. Zhang Huan was born in 1965 and currently lives and works between Shanghai and New York. Huan has had solo exhibitions at the Shanghai Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei, and a mid-career retrospective organized by the Asia Society in 2007 which then traveled to the Vancouver Museum of Art. His work is in permanent collections in major international museums and galleries.

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