Courtesy of the artist.
Zhang Huan Studio, Shanghai.
Photo: Zhang Huan Studio
© 2010 Zhang Huan
Hope Tunnel is a curated social project specifically designed for the UCCA space by renowned artist Zhang Huan. The exhibition includes the wreckage of a train destroyed during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake and a documentary recounting every step of the train's journey from Xi'an to Shanghai to Beijing.
When the Sichuan earthquake struck on May 12, 2008, cargo train no. 21043 was passing through a tunnel in the border region between Gansu, Sichuan and Shanxi Provinces. Loaded down with grain and fuel, the train caught fire and became trapped in the tunnel's inferno. It took workers six months to dig out the wreckage, clear the tunnel and reopen the railway line to earthquake-damaged areas of Sichuan.
Zhang Huan purchased what remained of the train and transported it to his workshop in Shanghai for selective renovation. When it is installed in UCCA's big hall with railway tracks and quake debris, visitors will be able to enter the front engine and tour the wreckage. A percentage of ticket sales will be donated to charity, and exhibition-goers will be able to make additional contributions to earthquake relief efforts.
Hope Tunnel is conceptual art on a grand scale, a monument to hope, a curated project designed to promote positive social change. A towering display of destructive power frozen in time, it allows us to reflect on the scale of the disaster, commemorate the victims and contemplate the possibility of reconstruction and the challenges that lie ahead.