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Zhang Huan

  • Stainless steel
  • 2010-12
  • 22 m x 4.8 m x 19.8 m
  • 188 University Avenue, Toronto

About the artwork

Zhang Huan conceived Rising as a philosophical reflection of the world around us. The polished stainless-steel sculpture consists of countless doves, the international symbol of world peace, and a twisted tree branch that resembles the body of a dragon. The sculpture draws an analogy to the fragile conditions facing our planet. Zhang Huan seeks to convey the message that humans can exist in harmony with nature, and that, if this delicate balance is struck, our cities will become better places to live. Zhang Huan says that “through the monster-shaped tree, I would like to advocate the protection of ecology, and the harmonious relationship between humans and nature. The doves in the tree symbolize the peace of the world and my wish is for beautiful city life to be shared by mankind and nature.”

Realized in two parts, the large-scale exterior sculpture  permanently resides at the entrance to the hotel and a second component extends indoors, gracing the walls of the hotel’s lobby. Rising took the artist two years to complete in his studio in Shanghai. Rising is Zhang Huan’s first public art commission in Canada.

About the artist

One of the most vital, influential and provocative contemporary artists working today, Huan was born in 1965 in An Yang City, He Nan Province, China. As of today, he lives and works in Shanghai and New York, working with Pace Gallery. Zhang Huan obtained a Master of Arts from Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China and a Bachelor of Arts from Na Han University, Kay Feng China.

Fun facts

  • Rising took the artist two years to complete in his Shanghai studio, and was later shipped by boat to the West Coast and then trucked across Canada to finally arrive in Toronto safely.
  • At the inauguration in Toronto, the artist told the audience, that his “dream is to leave earth and rise up to the sky, greater than any height upon clouds and air, and fly to a new realm, rising to the mythical heavens, dream world of beauty and harmony”.

Engagement questions

  • Now understanding the context of this sculpture, how does it make you feel, does it provoke specific thoughts?