Beijing East Village N°19 Rong Rong

  • Dimensions : 100 × 150 cm
  • Year : 1994
  • Technique : C-print
  • Thèmes : Chinese contemporary art Photography & performance

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12 Square Meters is a legendary performance by ZHANG HUAN where the artist practices a Buddhist discipline of awakening through physical endurance. Her naked body, covered with honey and brine, becomes the support of the work. In this terrible test of courage and patience, a zen exercise in self-forgetting, the artist is forced to stay several hours in a 12m2 latrine in an overheated atmosphere, invaded by flies, mosquitoes and other insects that come from there. sting but in the face of which he must remain stoic and motionless. Thereafter, he will go to purify his body in the water of a nearby lake, his body gradually disappearing under the surface of the water under the eye and the camera of Rong Rong, his photographer, friend and witness. In this profile Rong Rong conveys to us all the determination and intensity of the protagonist, concentrated in the gift of his body to the ever more extreme practice of a Chinese art in the discovery of the body. The brine and honey covering her skin gives it an unreal, sculptural and impenetrable aspect as if to mark the determination of these young artists to develop art in a China where flies, transformed into cannibalistic predators, seem to symbolize the constraints imposed by a society entering a new economic, social and political era.


Born in 1968, RONG RONG studied painting at the Fujian Industrial Art Institute in south-eastern China. In 1992, he left his native region for Beijing with the desire to become a photographer. Photography in China did not yet fully acquire its letters of nobility as the use of the photo in propaganda continues to weigh significantly in people's minds. When he arrived in Beijing, he settled in the East Village district, a very inexpensive district on the third outskirts to the east of the city whose population consists mainly of migrant workers and a marginal informal artistic community, devoted to a then new practice in China of performance. He then worked there alongside artists such as Zhang Huan, Zhang binbin, Хing Danwen, Ma Liuming, Zhu Ming, Wang Shishua, Cang Хin, Gao Yang, Tan Yeguang, Duan Yingmei or Zuoxiao Zuzhou… He still lives and works in Beijing.