16 september 2019

Zhang Huan

Zhang Huan in his studio, Shanghai. (bron: Vanity Fair, foto: Patrick Wack)

Zhang Huan's studio, 2015. (bron: China Art Management)

Rescued Ming-era bricks stacked in piles at Zhang Huan’s studio complex in Shanghai, 2015.

"A gaggle of Zhang Huan’s people receive me when I arrive at the artist’s eight-acre art factory in Xinqiao, a town buried in the southwestern suburbs of Shanghai. There are two publicity people who double as translators and two photographers who record my every move. I feel a little uncomfortable as their cameras constantly click. The studio curator is also hovering attentively close.

The studio site is immense—a conglomerate of cathedral-like spaces that was once a hydraulic factory until Zhang took over in 2008, three years after his return to China after living in New York for two decades. With the help of his 180 or so studio workers, Zhang breathed new life into the 1960s buildings, turning the estate into an art factory on an industrial scale.
But there is one particular workshop that stops me in my tracks. Its windows and doors are covered in heavy drapes and its interior is spotless, but a soft light filters through from the building’s clerestory windows. Nothing seems to stir. I do not see one speck of dust. The space is virtually empty but for one wall, where a monumental ash painting of breathtaking proportions hangs.

Zhang Huan’s new 37-meter ash painting, entitled June 15, 1964.

Zhang Huan in his Shanghai studio, 2015. (bron: ArtAsiaPacific, foto's: Michael Young)

> Zhang Huan

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