Zhang Huan – Sydney Buddha, left: Aluminium Buddha, 370x290x260cm, right: Ash Buddha, 350x480x290cm, Carriageworks, Sydney, Australia, 2015
Zhang Huan’s Ash Buddha
Zhang Huan, born in 1965, started out his career as a painter and then moved to performance art and then resorted back to painting. He is also a sculptor and photographer, but his main focus is being a performance artist. Throughout his career, he has made extensive use of ash, and even built a few sculptures with it. Zhang says that he considers ash to be symbolic as it represents the hopes and the prayers of those who usually burn the incense. To him, the ash sculptures represent a collective blessing, memory, and soul of the Chinese people. The ash is collected from various temples in Shanghai, a time-consuming process that involves many hands.