This year's festival, which marks its 75th anniversary, runs from Aug. 29-Sept. 8.
Zhang ("Raise the Red Lantern," "The Story of Qiu Ju") was chosen because his films have won more major awards at Venice than those of any other director, festival organizers said in a statement.
Zhang is currently designing the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and missed this year's Cannes Film Festival as a result. In a letter to the director of the Venice festival, Marco Mueller, Zhang confirmed his participation despite his "incredibly busy" schedule.
Zhang has won two Golden Lions, Venice's highest honor, for the 1992 film "The Story of Qiu Ju" and his 1999 "Not One Less." He was awarded the Silver Lion in 1991 for "Raise the Red Lantern," and actress Gong Li won best actress for "The Story of Qiu Ju" in 1992.