Born 1963, China

Zhang Huan lived in Beijing for seven years before moving to New York in 1998. He is known for documented performance works addressing issues of political and social repression. For instance, a 1994 performance in a public toilet in a poor area of Beijing referenced the abortions and female infanticides resulting from the Chinese government’s ‘one child’ policy. Covering himself with honey and fish oil, the artist sat motionless for several hours attracting flies and ants before immersing himself in a nearby river. He came to international prominence when photographs of the group performance, To Raise the Water Level in a Fishpond, were included in Inside Out, an exhibition of avant-garde Chinese art originating in New York in 1997. His ascendancy was assured with representation in the 1999 Biennale of Venice. In 2000, Zhang Huan involved local people and a flock of sheep for his performance, My Australia, enacted in the Sculpture Park at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra for the opening of Inside Out.

The starting point of Zhang Huan’s work has always been the language of his own body, at times subjected to extreme physical stress to experience spiritual states. He refers to his art as a ‘primitive act’, in tune with nature rather than technology.

1963 Born in An Yang City, He An Province, China
1988–91 Bachelor of Arts, He Nan University, Kay Feng, China
1991–93 Master of Arts, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China
1996 Moved to New York, United States
Lives and works in New York

2007 Ash, Haunch of Venison, London
2006 Zhang Huan, Sherman Galleries, Sydney
Zhang Huan, Galeries Volker Diehl, Berlin
2005 My Switzerland (performance), Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland
Seeds of Hamburg, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
My Boston (performance), Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
My Rome (performance), Musei Capitolini, Rome
2004 Zhang Huan, Tri Postal, Lille 2004 Cultural Capital of Europe, Lille, France
Zhang Huan, La Fabrica Galeria, Madrid
My Sydney (performance), Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
Seeds of Hamburg, Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida
Window (performance), Shanghai, China
2003 Fifty Stars (performance), Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati
Buddhist Relics (performance), DiverseWorks Artspace, Houston
18 Years Old (performance), Nikolaj Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center, Denmark
Peace (performance), presented by Creative Time Inc., Art on the Plaza, New York
Zhang Huan, Nikolaj Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center, Denmark
Zhang Huan, Bochum Museum, Bochum, Germany
Zhang Huan, Galerie Volker Diehl, Berlin
2002 My New York (performance), Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum, New York
Zhang Huan, Kunstverein in Hamburg, Germany
Seeds of Hamburg (performance), Kunstverein in Hamburg, Germany
2001 My Japan (performance), International Triennial of Contemporary Art, Yokohama, Japan
Zhang Huan, The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto
Pilgrimage to Santiago (performance), Museo das Perigrinacións, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Zhang Huan: Family Tree, Galerie Albert Benamou, Paris, France
Zhang Huan, Luhring Augustine Gallery, New York
2000 Flowers (performance), Helsingborg Museum, Sweden
Family Tree (performance), New York
Rubens (performance), Parkabdij, Heverlee, Belgium
My Australia (performance), National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Rubens (performance), SMAK Museum, Ghent, Belgium
Zhang Huan Survey, Adam Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand
My America, Deitch Projects, New York
Zhang Huan, Cotthem Gallery, Knokke-Zoute, Belgium
Chickenpox (performance), New York
Zhang Huan, Cotthem Gallery, Barcelona, Spain
1999 Zhang Huan Works from 1994–1998, Max Protetch Gallery, New York
Zhang Huan: Performance, Artspace, Auckland, New Zealand
Breath Series, Miami, Florida
Sunshine (performance), Concept Photograph, New York
Incompatible as Fire and Water (performance), Rubell Family Collection, Miami, Florida
Zhang Huan: Performance on Video, Artspace, Sydney
My America (Hard to Acclimatise), Seattle Art Museum, Seattle
Dream of Dragon (performance), Asian Art Museum, San Francisco
1998 1/2 Series (performance), Beijing
Pilgrimage: Wind and Water on New York (performance), P.S.1, New York
Foam Series (performance), Beijing
1997 To Raise the Water Level in a Fish Pond (performance), Beijing
3006M/3=65KG (performance), Watari Museum, Tokyo
1995 Nine Holes (performance), Beijing
To Add One Meter to an Anonymous Mountain (performance), Beijing
25mm Threading Steel (performance), Beijing
Concept and Participation in the Original Sound, 10 Artists Performing Individually on a Common Theme in a Given Place (performance), Dong Bian Men, Beijing
1994 65KG (performance), Private Studio, Beijing East Village, Beijing
12 Square Meters (performance), Public Toilet, Beijing East Village, Beijing
1993 Angel (performance), China National Art Gallery, Beijing

2006 Shoot the Family, Cranbrook Art Museum, Michigan
Making a Scene, Haifa Museum of Art, Haifa, Israel
MiArt, LipanjePuntin artecontemporanea, Milan
Arte Fiera, LipanjePuntin artecontemporanea, Bologna
Reverence, Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, New York
Fever Variations, 6th Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, Korea
Radar: Selections from the Logan Collection, Denver Art Museum, Colorado
2005 Locus Lophem 2005, Kunsthalle Lophem, Lophem, Belgium
Person of the Crowd, Contemporary Art Museum, Maryland
On the Edge: Contemporary Chinese Artists Encounter the West, Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for Arts, Stanford University, California
Text Me: An Exploration of Body Language, Sherman Galleries, Sydney
The Great Beyond, Kunstmuseum Thun, Thun, Switzerland
Mahjong: Contemporary Chinese Art, Sigg Collection, Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland
Monuments for the USA, CCA Wattis Institute Contemporary Arts, San Francisco
The Pictures of Dorian Gray, Galeria de Arte Mexicano, Mexico City, Mexico
The Wall: Reshaping Contemporary Chinese Art, China Millennium Monument Art Gallery, Beijing
Future Face, National Museum of Natural Science, Taipei, Taiwan
The Museum Collections, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
Between Skin and Orgasm: The Alchemistic Body, Kunsthalle Lophem, Lophem, Belgium
Fusion: Aspects of Asian Culture in the MUSAC Collection, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Spain
2004 Neither Here Nor There, Cheekwood Museum of Art, Nashville
Witness, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
Face/off, The Association of Arts and Crafts, Pforzheim, Germany
Constructed Identities, Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, USA
Dialogue with Pop: The Tank, Spaceworks Gallery, New York
Camera/Action: Performance and Photography, The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College Chicago
Anthro/Socio, The Artist Network, New York
Queens International 2004, Queens Museum of Art, New York
Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; International Center of Photography, New York
Regeneration, Samek Art Gallery, Bucknell University, Pennsylvania
The Amazing and the Immutable, Contemporary Art Museum, University of South Florida
Supernova: Art of the 1990s from the Logan Collection, San Francisco Museum of Art, San Franciso
The Art Project Goetzen, Houses of an Idol, Slubice, Poland; Frankfurt, Germany
Me, Myself & I, Florida Atlantic University, Florida
2003 Phantom of Desire: Visions of Masochism in Art, Neue Galerie, Graz, Austria
Me and More, Museum of Art Lucerne, Lucerne, Switzerland
Come Rally, Basque Museum of Contemporary Art, Vitoria, Spain
Skin Deep, Museo di Arte Moderna eContemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, Rovereto, Italy
Performance and Almost Performance, Reina Sofia National Museum, Madrid
Blood Lines and Connections, Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, Colorado
Full Frontal: Contemporary Asian Artists from the Logan Collection, Denver Art Museum, Colorado
Spiders and Flies, Newcontemporaries, Sydney
Photo España 2003, International Photography Festival, Madrid
Banquet, Metabolism and Communication, ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany
Somewhere Better Than This Place, The Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati
2003 Beaufort, Triennial for Contemporary Art by the Sea, PMMK, Museum of Modern Art, Ostend, Belgium
Art Project, Diverse Works Art Space, Houston
Temporal Mood, Barbara Davis Gallery, Houston
Rituals, Academy of Arts, Berlin
Family Ties, Peabody Essex Museum, Massachusetts
Body Politics, Elga Wimmer Gallery, New York
Windstil, Cotthem Gallery, Brussels, Belgium
MiArt, LipanjePuntin artecontemporanea, Milan
Arte Fiera, LipanjePuntin artecontemporanea, Bologna
New Zone, Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Poland
BQE, White Box, New York
2002 The Gift, Generous offerings, Threatening Hospitality, The Bronx Museum of Art, New York
China Contemporary Art Exhibition: Red Continent, Gwangju Art Museum, Korea
Shock and Show, LipanjePuntin artecontemporanea, Trieste, Italy
2002 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Subjectivity: Photographs of Themselves, Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona, Tucson
Skin Talks, Musée de la Civilisation, Quebec, Canada
SAM Collects, Contemporary Art Projects, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle
Artissima, LipanjePuntin artecontemporanea, Torino, Italy
La Mirada Ajena, Basque Museum of Contemporary Art, Vitoria, Spain
Paisajes del Cuerpo, Sala Zapateria 40, Pamplona, Spain
Attachment +, Kunsthalle Lophem, Lophem, Belgium
2001 Towards a New Synthesis: Yokohama 2001 International Triennial of Contemporary Art, Pacifico Yokohama Exhibition Hall, Yokohama, touring to Queens Museum of Art, New York
The Gift: Generous Offerings, Threatening Hospitality, Palazzo delle Papesse, Siena Center of Contemporary Art, Italy
Metamorphosis and Cloning, Museum of Contemporary Art, Montreal, Canada
Subject Plural: Crowds in Contemporary Art, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston
Translated Acts, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin
Naked, Wood Street Galleries, Pittsburgh
Lateral Thinking: Art of the 1990s, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego
2000 Supermodel: Identity and Transformation, LipanjePuntin artecontemporanea, Trieste, Italy
Sharing Exoticisms, 5th Biennale de Lyon, France
Waterfront-Cultural Bridge 2000, Helsinborg Museum, Sweden and Denmark
Betreff: Expo 2000, Themenpark, Basic Needs, Hannover, Germany
Utopia, Rogaland Kunstmuseum, Stavanger, Norway
Emotional Rescue: The Contemporary Art Project, Center of Contemporary Art, Seattle
On the Edge of the Western World, Yerba Buena Center of the Arts, San Francisco
Art and Religion, Parkabdij Heverlee, Heverlee, Belgium
The Standard Projection: 24/7, The Standard Hotel, Los Angeles
Video via Venice, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
Socialisms, Special Exhibition, Stockholm Art Fair, Sweden
6 Signals: Video by Contemporary Artists, Cheekwood, Nashville
Potent/Present: Selections from the Kent and Vicki Logan Collection, CCAC Institute, Oakland
Recent Acquisitions from The Doron Sebbag Art Collection, Tel Aviv Museum, Israel
1999 Stories, A/C Projects, New York
Contemporary Collectors, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego
Transience: Chinese Art at the End of the 20th Century, The Smart Museum of Art, Chicago
Summit, Galerie 5020, Salzburg, Austria
In Your Face, New Langton Arts, San Francisco
48th Biennale of Venice, Venice, Italy
Best of the Season, Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Connecticut
Five Continents and a City: Second International Salon of Painting, Museum of Mexico City, Mexico
Self-Portrait, Mercer Union-Center for Contemporary Art, Toronto, Canada
Last Paradise, Presenca Galeria, Porto, Portugal
Zhang Huan: A Video Survey 1994–1998, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, New Zealand
Risk Cinema, Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida, Gainesville, USA
The Century of the Body: Photoworks 1900–2000, Culturgest, Lisbon, Portugal; Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland
Art Worlds in Dialogue, Ludwig Museum, Cologne, Germany
1998 Inside Out: New Chinese Art, Asia Society, New York, PS 1 Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Franciso
In Your Face, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh
1997 Chinese Contemporary Art 1997, Watari Museum, Tokyo
1996 Art Material of China, Avant-Garde, Fugang, Tokyo
China Art Festival, Munich, Germany
1995 Configura 2, Erfurt, Germany
1994 Graduate Show, Central Academy of Fine Art, Beijing

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Center of Contemporary Art, Malaga, Spain; Centro Galego de Arte Contemporanea, Santiago de Compostela, Spain; Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus; Denver Art Museum, Colorado; Fukuoka Art Museum, Japan; Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Museum of Art Lucerne, Switzerland; Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla, California; Museum of Contemporary Art, Leon, Spain; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans; Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia; Pompidou Center, Paris; Seattle Art Museum, Seattle; S.M.A.K., Ghent, Belgium; Buffalo University, Buffalo; Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle; Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, USA; Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago; Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University; University Art Museum, University of California, Berkeley; Yale University, New Haven; Emily Fisher Landau Collection, New York; Kent and Vicki Logan Collection, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; Marieluise Hessel Foundation Collection, Center Curatorial Studies, New York; John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Chicago; Rubell Family Collection, Miami; Doron Sebbag Art Collection, Tel Aviv; Capital Research Company Collection, Hong Kong; Progressive Corporate Art Collection, Mayfield Village, USA; REFCO Inc., Chicago; and private and corporate collections worldwide.

Chin-Chin Yap, ‘The case of the readymade mountain’, Art AsiaPacific, no. 55, September–October 2007, pp. 86–87
David Teh, ‘Zhang Huan: Thinking big’, Art AsiaPacific, no. 55, September–October 2007, pp. 110–111
Elaine W. Ng, ‘Summer heat on the block’, Art AsiaPacific, no. 55, September–October 2007, pp. 94–95
Lyndall Crisp, ‘Water course: Brisbane goes with the flow’, Arts, Australian Financial Review, 2 August 2007, p. 48
Sebastian Smee, ‘Beastly goings on’, illus., Review, Weekend Australian, 10–11 March 2007, p. 18
Tracey Clement, ‘Migrating within’, Metropicks, Sydney Morning Herald, 9 March 2007, p. 27
‘Australia’, Art Asia Pacific Almanac 2007, summer 2006-07, p. 113
Katrina Strickland, ‘Candle in the wind’, Australian Financial Review, 7 December 2006, p. 45
Tracey Clement, ‘Zhang Huan’, Metro Picks, Sydney Morning Herald, 1–7 December 2006, p. 27
Robert Ayers, ‘Zhang Huan’, Reviews: New York, Artnews, December 2006, pp. 152–3
Clare Morgan, ‘Artist’s vision for change’, Arts & Entertainment, Sydney Morning Herald, 7 November 2006, p. 14
Michael Desmond, ‘Zhang Huan’, Zhang Huan, catalogue essay, Sherman Galleries, Sydney, 2006
Felicity Fenner, ‘Gwangju Biennale’, Art & Australia, vol. 44, no. 2, summer 2006–07, pp. 186–7
Gene Sherman, ‘China rocks’, Australian Art Market Report, no. 22, summer 2006–07, pp. 34–5
Don J. Cohn & Elaine W. Ng, ‘Fall auction report: An up and down affair’, ArtAsiaPacific, Spirituality issue, no. 51, winter 2007, pp. 56–7
Hiroshi Sunairi, ‘Buddha mind in contemporary art’, ArtAsiaPacific, Spirituality issue, no. 51, winter 2007, p. 128
Margaret Marsh, Michele Watts and Craig Malyon, A.R.T. 2 Practice, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 2005, p. 87