Zhang Huan

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Hatje Cantz, 2003 - Art - 119 pages
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Zhang Huan, born in 1965 in the Chinese province of Honan, was among the first artists in China who turned to performance art at the beginning of the nineties turned to performance art. Although its underground-based protagonists were rarely permitted to appear publicly in Beijing, the "Beijing East Village" artist colony drew the attention of the Western world amazingly fast. Since the middle of the nineties, Huan's works could be viewed in Europe. Japan and the U.S., at first chiefly on video or via photographs. In 1998 he showed his first performance to a larger public in New York, where he currently lives and works as an artist. At the centre of Huan's early works were psychological and physical extreme situations to which he submitted his naked body. For his formally stringent work "To Raise the Water Level in a Fish Pond. Huan had a group of farm workers climb into a fish pond near Beijing in 1997, thus creating an image representing the drift to the cities, the flooding of cities with vast numbers of people, and the assimilation of individuals in an underprivileged mass without vote. Here, he used choreography for the first time in his work. On the whole, theatrical concepts and narrative structures have started to play a larger role in Huan's work since the end of the nineties.

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