Zhang Huan - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Wednesday, February 11, 2009 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • Provenance

    Haunch of Venison, London

  • Catalogue Essay

    Zhang Huan came to artistic prominence through a series of performances, events and installations made whilst living in the East Village, New York.Through the production of his performances and installations, Zhang Huan allows his audience to encounter the complexity and ambivalence of his mind. His work is marked by the Cultural Revolution and is strongly influenced by the Buddhist Tibetan spirit. It responds to the trauma of the Cultural Revolution and the vulnerability of both body and society.
    "I moved back to China from the United States. On my return, I visited the LonghuaTemple in Shanghai to burn incense before Buddha.There I noticed many lay Buddhists who spent hours alone with the sculpture of Buddha, muttering prayers; they all seemed to have entered another state of mind, as though they were hypnotized. I was deeply moved by the power of the sculpture and the allure of such power, attracting people to burn incense and to pray. The temple floor was covered with ash which leaked from the giant incense burner. Seeing this image of ash conjured a feeling inside ofme: it was a beautiful material and it moved me greatly. These ash remains speak to the fulfillment of millions of hopes, dreams and blessings. It was here that I finally discovered the ingredient I hadbeen looking for to pave the way for new work." (Z. Huang, Zhang Huan: Ash, Haunch of Venison, 2007)
    The present lot, Renaissance No. 4, is a haunting example of Zhang Huan's ash paintings: human sculls reside at the bottom of the composition evoking a feeling of apocalyptic devastation or sacrificial loss.We are confronted with mortality and the materiality of death. Zhang's use of ash, sourced from the remains of incenseused in prayer, to render the skulls is also powerfully symbolic. It embodies the intangible hopes, dreams and blessings of many different people, adding an inherently animate yet disturbingly morbid quality to the work.


Renaissance No. 4


Incense ash, charcoal and resin on canvas.

101.5 x 152.5 cm. (40 x 60 in).
Signed, titled and dated ‘Zhang Huan Renaissance No. 4 2007 [in Chinese]' on the reverse.

£50,000 - 70,000 

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

12 Feb 2009, 7pm