Controversial Chinese-born, Paris-based avant-garde artist Huang Yong Ping creates large-scale installations that examine cultural identity and art history while defying and challenging viewers’ expectations. A founding member of China’s Xiamen Dada collective, Huang was strongly influenced by Wittgenstein, Duchamp, Beuys, and Zen Buddhism. In his latest provocative one-man show, continuing at Gladstone through January 19, Huang equates the artist as Creator and master manipulator in “Circus.” Huang has filled the gallery’s main space with headless taxidermied animals in a skeletal cage gathered before the small figure of the Monkey King from the Chinese classic Journey to the West, a huge wooden hand hovering above. The heads of the animals have been carefully sliced off, leaving behind a flat red surface. Upstairs, the heads have been placed along a skewer that dangles in midair. Nearby is a fully intact camel — head right where it should be, an oversized knitting needle through its nose — kneeling on a prayer rug; on its right side is shaved in French the biblical saying “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” The disturbing work calls into question issues of power and control relating to religion, politics, and art itself, as well as humanity’s ever-more-destructive role in the universe.