About the Project
Creative Time’s third installment of Art on the Plaza—a series of commissioned outdoor sculpture for The Ritz-Carlton in Battery Park City—featured Peace, an elegant sculpture by celebrated Chinese artist Zhang Huan, which explored ancestral history and ethnic assimilation. The sculpture, a large bronze bell engraved with Chinese characters, embodied the cardinal themes of Huan’s work: the relation of experience to environment, identity to culture, and body to spirit.
Zhang Huan modeled the sculpture after traditional bells found in Chinese temples and inscribed it with the names of his ancestors from his native village. Visitors were invited to push a gilded cast of the artist’s naked body into the bell, thereby forcing a symbolic confrontation between the artist and his ancestral past. Within view of Ellis Island, Peace encouraged the public to consider their own relationship to ancestry and identity.
Photograph by Charlie Samuels