Zhou Yan Contemporary Chinese Art Archive 周彦当代中国艺术档案



Huan ZHANG 張洹


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Location of Exhibition Event

National Gallery of Art (Beijing, China)


Photograph 1 & 2: action art Photograph 3 & 4: mixed media


The 'Angels' was a series of work, including ready-made pieces and the artist's first Action Art after joining the Beijing East Village community. On October 26th, 1992, Zhang smashed a bottle of red paint and broken parts of baby dolls on the west side courtyard of the National Art Museum of China located in Beijing. In the background, "The Wall" by Pink Floyd plays. The artist then assembled the broken doll parts together and hung it on a rope he had prepared. This action was realized by the artist after one of his friends found out that his girlfriend was pregnant and needed an abortion. In a personal essay, the artist said, "The feeling of being frightened about abortion comes from worrying about one’s parents or schools finding out about it, although no one can forget the three-inch long spine and coin-sized hands covered in blood and lying on an iron plate" (Zhang). After his action, the artist was fined by the museum and forced to write up a self-criticism addressed to the museum. The audience included artists from Yuanmingyuan and the Beijing East Village. The second photograph, dated Jan. 1992, documents the artist post-action surrounded by a group of videographers, cameramen, and spectators. The third photo, dated April 1992, depicts six boxes standing vertically, each filled with partially-melted, naked baby dolls attached to glass bottles by what appears to be catheters, as if they are getting an injection. The fourth photograph is of yet another ready-made piece, which consists of an array of five-by-six boxes filled with blackened baby doll parts. On the top of the array sits another box of the same composition, amounting to a total of thirty-one boxes. Then, placed on each column of boxes and the thirty-first box is a bottle with a tube hanging from its mouth. Like in the third photograph, the tubes resemble catheters, again evoking imagery of injection and medicine. For more on ‘Angels’ action art, read Zhang's personal statement "A Piece of Nothing": http://www.zhanghuan.com/wzMF/info_74.aspx?itemid=1146. (Nicole Wang '26).

天使2.jpg (174 kB)
天使3.jpg (371 kB)
天使4.jpg (187 kB)


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In Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Permitted