News Blog

Zhang Huan’s In the Ashes of History exhibition will take place in the Hermitage State Museum till 08th November

09 September 2020
Zhang Huan’s In the Ashes of History exhibition will take place in the Hermitage State Museum till 08th November

Zhang Huan’s In the Ashes of History exhibition will take place in the Hermitage State Museum  9 September – 8 November, 2020.  Pearl Lam Galleries is proud to support the exhibition Zhang Huan. In the Ashes of History, co-curated by Dimitri Ozerkov, Anastasia Veialko, and Wu Hung. The exhibition celebrates Zhang Huan as the first Chinese contemporary artist to open a solo exhibition at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg — one of the most prestigious museums in the world.

The show highlights Zhang Huan’s consistent use of unconventional materials and techniques through works that convey his aesthetic judgment and social critique. The exhibition features more than 30 works from four different series: Ash Paintings, Memory Doors, Love /Reincarnation series and the installation of the Hermitage Buddha. Zhang Huan created My Winter Palace consisting of new works inspired by the artist’s first visit to the Hermitage. The exhibition will be on view at Nicholas Hall of the Winter Palace.


Demonstrating the fraternal kinship between Russia and China, Zhang has exploited materials such as ash and wooden doors to depict memories of historical figures and events. In particular, Zhang’s Memory Doors from My Winter Palace series were inspired by and specially created for the Hermitage. Zhang was deeply moved by the Russian pavilion curated by the Hermitage at the Venice Biennale in 2019. The shown installation by Alexander Sokurov (b. 1951) and Alexander Shishkin-Hokusai (b. 1969) inspired the artist to explore the idea of the “Russian ark” and how the museum’s collection becomes a treasury of memories. The title of this new series, My Winter Palace, pays tribute to the Hermitage collection and art masters who have greatly influenced the artist. The exhibition features thirteen of these wood bas-reliefs, carved with silk-screen printed photograph motifs of Hermitage paintings. 

On view is 15 June, 1964 (2008–12), a 37-metre-long ash painting of the Communist Party of the People’s Republic of China that almost fills the entire length of the Nicholas Hall. The inspiration behind this painting derives from an old photograph Zhang encountered at a Beijing street market in the early 1990s. The work is painted with incense ash collected from Buddhist temples. Kilos of these ashes are transported to the artist’s studio and sorted manually into 20 different tones or shades. The ash creates a sense of historical authenticity and transcends its material properties to become a symbol of the collective memories, wishes, and prayers of the Chinese people. This unusual material resonates with the artist’s deep connection to the philosophy of Pratitya in Buddhism.

 Originally intended as a continuation of his Reincarnation series, Zhang redefined two groups of recently created works as the Love series in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, capturing the uncontrollable nature of the virus and its impact on the routines of society. The Love series, created during home quarantine, marks Zhang Huan’s return to painting with brushes and paint. The first eight works are titled Reincarnation, referencing the Buddhist concept that death is not a conclusion but a natural part of the life cycle. The additional two works titled Love are a distillation of the artist’s personal experiences regarding the pandemic in China and around the world. It reflects the uncertainty felt globally, as the unnerving reality encourages us to slow down and consider introspection. It is a way of “returning to the essence of life”, as described by the artist. 

Works from the Hermitage Buddha series follow Zhang’s previous installations Three Heads Six Arms and The Six Paths of Transmigration. With extending body parts, the sculpture encapsulates the inflated ego of humanity. The monstrous figure signifies the duality of the man-made and the natural. It also addresses unresolved conflicts between countries and their people. 

The exhibition Zhang Huan. In the Ashes of History is organized by the Department of Contemporary Art as part of the Hermitage 20/21 project, with the support of DC Foundation – Diana Chen, Dr. Junning Lee and Mrs. Xiaojun Lee, Julia Zhen, and the Asymmetry Art Foundation, China Art Foundation and Pearl Lam Galleries.



About the Artist

  Zhang Huan was born in in 1965 in a small town called Anyang in Henan Province. He graduated from the Henan Academy of Fine Arts in Kaifeng in 1988. In the early years, Zhang began his career as a painter inspired by Rembrandt van Rijn and Jean-François Millet upon obtaining extensive academic training. In 1993, Zhang graduated with an MA from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. Around this time, he started creating performance works that tested his physical and mental endurance. He continued to produce paintings and further mastered the art of photography and sculpture. His time spent living and working in the United States from 1998 to 2005 hugely influenced his artistic career. Currently, Zhang Huan lives and works in Shanghai and New York.

 Adapting abstraction and minimalism within the parameters of Buddhism and Chinese culture, Zhang continuously strives to give renewed resonance to modernist techniques while retaining his identity as a Chinese artist. His work involves various subject matters, including religion, family, politics, culture, poverty, and famine. The broad range of materials and tools used in his art practices explains the sense of synthesis, even decorativeness, that can be found in Zhang’s art.

 About Hermitage 20/21

 Hermitage 20/21 is a State Hermitage Museum project established in 2007 for the study and exhibition of contemporary art from all over the world, and from which the museum’s collection of contemporary art is being formed. In terms of exhibitions, the project focuses on five main aspects: solo exhibitions of acknowledged stars of contemporary art, group exhibitions of young artists from various countries, architecture exhibitions, exhibitions of photography, and the project entitled Sculpture in the Great Courtyard of the Winter Palace. As part of the Hermitage 20/21 educational programme, there are meetings with artists and curators, round-table discussions, masterclasses, and artist competitions. To date, around 40 exhibitions have resulted from the project.

 About Pearl Lam Galleries

  Pearl Lam Galleries is a driving force within Asia’s contemporary art scene. Founded in 2005, the Galleries plays a vital role in stimulating international dialogue and cross-cultural exchange between the East and West. Following a rigorous programme, Pearl Lam Galleries presents museum-quality exhibitions that reevaluate and challenge perceptions of cultural practice in Asia.

 With a thoughtfully balanced roster of Chinese and international artists, the Galleries is strategic in its curation, positioning itself as an educator. The Galleries maintains a flagship space in the historic Pedder Building in Hong Kong, whilst the Shanghai gallery is situated in the heart of the Bund district.

 With a team of international staff, Pearl Lam Galleries’ reach is global, having presentations at major international art fairs including The Armory Show, Art Cologne, Art Basel Hong Kong, Frieze Masters, and West Bund Art and Design.

 Text source: Pearl Lam Galleries’ press release 

Photo source:

Tsar Events Russia DMC & PCO Team has created Instagram Mask “Welcome to Russia” to raise awareness about Russia Travel Potential and started Instagram flash mob to promote possibilities of Russia for Meetings, Incentives, Congresses, Events and Leisure tourism. 

We invite you to become part of our flash mob on Instagram and other social media using our masks and putting hashtag #WelcomeToRussia.

You can add our mask from Tsar Events account @tsarevents to your Instagram camera and upload video or picture to your stories or your feed.


Also, you can follow our accounts in other social media:

Instagram in English:  (on English)

Instagram in Spanish  




Twitter in English:

Twitter in Spanish:


 If you need assistance with getting tickets or private tour in St. Isaac Cathdral or other museums, or hotel accommodation you can always ask team of Tsar Events. Also we can help you with planning your special event, cultural or incentive program, conference and congress in Moscow or St. Petersburg.

Tsar Events Destination Management Company & Professional Congress Organizer provides all MICE services in all Russian cities.

Tsar Events Russia DMC & PCO is existing on the market already 10 years and we have very long list of satisfied clients and successful events.

We can help you in RUSSIA, UKRAINE, BALTIC STATES, BELARUS with any MICE needs. and with planning, organizing and operating of:

  • Meeting & Congress
  • Incentive Program
  • Cultural or Special Interest Professional Group
  • Theme Parties & Special Events
  • Hotel accommodation
  • Transportation and Staff logistics
  • Team-Building Activities
  • Venues & vendors Selection

Why Tsar Events Russia DMC & PCO?

  1. The only CMP (Certified Meeting Professional) in Russia. Managing Director & Founder of the company Alexander Rodionov is the only CMP in the country (since 2010)
  2. The first DMCP (Destination Management Certified Professional) in Russia! Managing Director & Founder of the company Alexander Rodionov is the first DMCP in the country (since 2011)
  3.  The only CITP (Certified Incentive Travel Specialist) in Russia. Managing Director & Founder of the company Alexander Rodionov is the only CITP in the country (since 2019)
  4.  We are the only company in Russia where all project managers are CIS (Certified Incentive specialist) - since 2019
  5.  We are the first Accredited Destination Management Company (ADMC) in Russia (since 2015).
  6.  We wrote book Russia Survival Guide - first Book-instruction for Meeting planners who is organizing event in Russia. Published in 2013 and available online and in bookstores (sold more than 20 000 books).
  7.  We created Russia Survival Guide Vlog – first Russian MICE Theme YouTube Channel with instructions for Meeting planners who is organizing event in Russia (since 2018, more than 300,000 views)
  8.  We are winner of 4 (four!) World Travel Awards in category Russia’s Leading Destination Management company
  9.  Winner of ADME International Recognition Award 2016 in category Destination Management Professional of the Year, won by Alexander Rodionov, DMCP, CMP, CITP, Managing Director & Founder of Company
  10.  We are winner of ADMEI Achievements Award 2020 in nomination «Best Tour Program» with incentive BMW Baltics «Dreamland Program» in Moscow
  11.  We are finalist of ADMEI Excellence Award 2020 in nomination «Excellence in Meeting Services» with SPIMUN 2019 (St. Petersburg International Model United Nations Conference)
  12. We are finalist of ADMEI Excellence Award 2016 in nomination «Excellence in Entertainment Production» with SPIMUN 2015 (St. Petersburg International Model United Nations Conference)
  13.  We are finalist of ADMEI Excellence Award 2019 in nomination «Excellence in Cultural and Tradition Integration» with our event Gala Dinner at Moscow GUM for FIFA World Cup 2018 Coca Cola Global Hospitality Program
  14.  We are the first Russian DMC opened Franchised office outside of Russia opening Tsar Events Panama DMC & PCO providing services in Panama Republic
  15.  We organized more than 600 events during 10 years of providing MICE services in Russia, CIS countries and Panama
  16.  We provided service for more than 90000 clients during 10 years working in Russia, CIS countries and Panama
  17.  We are helping to develop MICE industry in Russia collaborating with local Travel universities and colleges providing work places for students and graduates
  18.  Our Project Manager Ekaterina Antonova, CIS is the winner of 2019 Linda Thompson Memorial Scholarship supported by ADME International
  19.  We are promoting and supporting responsible consuming during planning and program execution process selecting only suppliers and activities answering ethical and ecological requirements
  20.  Together with local public schools we are supporting new generation and promoting United Nations values organizing annual non-profit event - SPIMUN (St. Petersburg International Model United Nations Conference) during 10 years already
  21.  Our team members never stop personal and professional development regularly participating in global MICE industry educational events like SITE Global conferences, MPI WEC, ICCA Annual congress
  22.  Every week we are creating for you new concepts, themes, and activities and select venues vetting and choosing the best suppliers in our destinations
  23.  We are small company (only 9 team members) and every projects becomes our “baby” and every clients becomes our family member for life