On now at macau’s espace louis vuitton, ‘east wind, west wind’ by chinese artist huan zhang juxtaposes images and sculptures from materials as diverse as ash, wood, and cowhide, in a solo exhibition that celebrates and interrogates chinese and western cultural beliefs.
in creating his ash works, zhang collects the ashes of incense left by pilgrims at various temples around shanghai, sorting them by colour and shade before compositing them into formal sculptures and paintings. the paintings range from portraits to historical scenes influenced by the tropes of socialist realism.
‘to some, ash seems useless and insubstantial; it is a short-lived witness to human spirituality and spiritual practice. to me, ashes carry unseen sedimentary residue, and tremendous human data about the collective and individual subconscious. these ashes embody various elements such as the religious and secular worlds, the hopes of men and women, human piety, spirituality and desire, which are then integrated into sculptures and ash paintings.‘