ZHANG HUAN12 Square Meters,1994, Documentation of a 40-minute performance. Courtesy the artist.

Khvay Samnang on Zhang Huan

Cambodia China USA
Also available in:  Chinese  Arabic

My first encounter with Zhang Huan’s work occurred in Cambodia in 2008 thanks to independent curator Zoe Butt. I was with my artist collective, Stiev Selapak / Art Rebels, and she introduced Zhang’s and other Chinese artists’ work to us. Back then, my English language skills were not advanced enough for me to do more research on him, but I was particularly impressed by his performance piece from 1994, titled 12 Square Meters, where he sat naked and drenched in fish oil and honey, in a filthy public toilet in Beijing’s East Village artist community. He sat on the toilet, almost immobile, for an hour. Over time, his body became covered with flies. 

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