This is the guide book of the solo exhibition of Chinese artist Zhang Huan of the same title at Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai, from October 2011 to January 2012.

'With Confucius as his inspiration, the now Shanghai-based artist explores the impact on art, society, and religion of China’s rapid economic, cultural, and environmental changes. All new work has been commissioned specifically for RAM’s exhibition featuring animated large-scale sculptures, ash paintings and installations.

The basic concepts of the exhibition Q Confucius have their origins in themes that have long been of concern for artist Zhang Huan’s creative practise: the relationships that humankind, both as individuals and collectives, have with their natural, social and cultural environment, both in our lives and in the broader course of human development; and also the poetic expression of the fundamental nature of these relationships. The origins of Zhang’s creative practise on these themes can be traced back to the series of performance pieces he made in the 1990s, the origins are also apparent in what he calls his ‘concept photo’ works and have extended onwards into his later works using material media. In recent years, through working with materials, craft techniques and symbols that have particular cultural meanings, such as incense ash, cowhide, woodcut and historical photographs, the artist has ever more clearly targeted his critique on the direction taken by modern social development, questioning the meaning of material abundance and technological progress for human existence. This is both the logical extension of Zhang Huan’s sustained interest in motifs of human nature and also the artist’s contemplation of and response to the ever more frequent natural disasters and clashes of cultures seen around the world in recent years.
Q Confucius is the latest development along this creative trajectory. The exhibition makes use of ‘Confucius’, a symbol representative of Eastern moral and political thinking, to explore the question of how humanity might, in an era of technological development and rapidly evolving social organisations and means of interaction, progress together and come to coexist in harmony, both with fellow humans and with Nature, and indeed whether this is possible at all. These special correlations connect the theme of this exhibition, which at first sight might seem abstract, to everyday life experience, and provoke public thinking and debate on related phenomena and questions.' - from museum's website.

Includes details of a panel discussion and educational programmes stemming from the exhibition, as well as biographies of the artist and the curator.

Please note that the Archive also holds the full catalogue of the exhibition, details of which can be found here.

Alternative title

Zhang huan: wen kong zi

Access level


Location code MONS.ZHH3

Chinese - Simplified, 


Publication/Creation date


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No of copies


Content type

artist monograph, 


Chapter headings
Q on Q Confucius / 《問孔子》策展札記 - Fumio NANJO, 南條史生
Zhang Huan: Q Confucius (Guide)
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Zhang Huan: Q Confucius (Guide), 張洹:問孔子

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