Zhang Huan – 2022 Cornell Biennial

Zhang Huan

The Celestial Burial of an Artist
NFT Exhibition

In the body of work The Celestial Burial of an Artist, EchoX and Zhang bring this classic performance to the NFT realm, inviting the audience to not just witness, but own and become part of the artwork. “The Celestial Burial of an Artist” begins in a virtual game room where the audience will enter the game one by one. Each will have 30 seconds to interact and attempt to remove part(s) of Zhang’s avatar dressed in a golden meat suit this time. When the time is up, the participant can then decide whether to mint it into an NFT or leave the game directly. There will be a total of 2500 NFTs minted for Zhang to integrate all the NFTs collected into the monumental artwork “The Celestial Burial of an Artist” NFT, which will be exclusively collected and exhibited by the Hermitage Museum .

“The Celestial Burial of an Artist” explores the Tibetan Buddhist view of life and death as Zhang is deeply attracted by its culture and life of the Tibetan people. According to Zhang, his last performance must be his own death, related to the idea of celestial burial. Being Zhang’s debut NFT collection and the world’s first NFT performance art, its value will not be underestimated.

Zhang Huan is one of China’s best-known performance and contemporary artists. The layers of ideas the artist explored in his early performance art, conceived of as existential explorations and social commentaries, have carried through to the more traditional studio practice he embraced upon moving to Shanghai in 2005, after living and working for eight years in New York City. Notable works include: ’12㎡’ (1994), ‘To Add a Meter to an Anonymous Mountain’ (1995), ‘To Raise the Water Level in a Fishpond’ (1997) & ‘My Temple’ (2015).

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