Zhang Huan: The Eternal Fetal Movement
Petit Palais ‘ Musée des Beauz-Arts de la Ville de Paris, Avenue Winston Churchill, 75008 Paris
23 October - 27 October 2013
From the Press Release
Just like a circular room The Eternal Fetal Movement embodies an eternal, solemn and respectful meditation place, around the human being and mourning. Composed of an opening structure in eucalyptus wood measuring 9.5 metres wide (354,33 inch) and 3.61 metres high (142,1 inch), this installation contains 4557 drawers, in which visitors are invited to explore.
Inspired by the form and function of traditional Chinese medicine cabinets, the work becomes a maternal body enveloping the visitor and the holder of warm feelings, care and security. The prevalent themes, which are at the same time universal and contextual, underpin the entire work of artist Zhang Huan. Here they come together in an installation, which poignantly deals with birth, illness, and death yet also reincarnation.
Zhang Huan is an unavoidably key figure of Chinese and International contemporary art, as a founding artist of the performance movement in China. In 1988, he moved to New York, where he worked until his return in China - more precisely Shanghai - in 2006, to continue constructing his subversive work where the human body is always pushed to its limits.
He now pursues his aesthetics research around the use of paint, photography, sculpture and installation, using materials such as burned incense ashes from Buddhist temples, animal skin, bronze and copper or elements strictly coming from traditional handicrafts, like sculpted doors. This variety of mode of expression allows him to work with different subjects - landscapes, portraits or a revisited Buddhist statuary - in order to take a look at actual China and the relation the country maintains with its cultural and religious heritage.