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Hainan elements showcased at 58th Venice Biennale

ehainan.gov.cn | Updated: 2019-07-10


Poster of the 58th Venice Biennale. [Photo/Hainan Daily]

The Venice Biennale, a renowned international contemporary art exhibition, kicked off its 58th edition in May in Venice, Italy and will run until November.

Zachary Chang, an invited artist from China who is a long-time Hainan resident, brought two works full of Hainan elements to the exhibition.

Chang has deeply explored the multiple meanings of art and material performance for many years. This is his second time to go to Venice to participate in the exhibition, bringing the performance art piece Love Letter and The Five Elements, a work incorporating five elements he collected in Hainan.


The Five Elements by Zachary Chang. [Photo/Hainan Daily]

At the site, Chang poured some liquor on the scroll of his Love Letter work and set it on fire. Regarded as performance art, his move attracted many foreign audiences and artists. After two minutes, the fire burned out, the scroll remained intact and a special art piece appeared.  

"Some foreigners think Chinese artists are not advanced or modern, but when they see this, they find it new and interesting," said Chang.

As Chang's second hometown, Hainan often provides him artistic inspiration inadvertently. All the materials in The Five Elements are unique to Hainan. This abstract work offers audiences an impression of Hainan. "Foreign audiences may not understand Chinese philosophy, but they are curious about the Hainan materials used in the artwork and regard it as a kind of material innovation," Chang said. 


Visitors admire the burning Love Letter work by artist Zachary Chang. [Photo/Hainan Daily] 

"The Venice Film Festival and Venice Biennale create countless tourism revenue for Venice every year, and they also lead the art trend of world," Chang said when comparing Venice with Hainan.

He said that Hainan can learn from the experience of the Venice Biennale and Venice Film Festival.

"Hainan has considerable potential," Chang said. "The construction of the Hainan Pilot Free Trade Zone and other open policies make it possible for Hainan to become an 'Eastern Venice'."