Daoist elements in Cai Guo-Qiang's "Inopportune" and "Head On"

Submitted by James Miller on Tue, 02/14/2012 - 15:15
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TitleDaoist elements in Cai Guo-Qiang's "Inopportune" and "Head On"
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsWockenfuss, K. M.
Corporate AuthorsDallow, Jessica
Academic DepartmentProQuest Dissertations and Theses
Date Published2011
PublisherThe University of Alabama at Birmingham
Place PublishedUnited States -- Alabama
ISBN Number9781267106193
KeywordsArt history

This thesis explores the Daoist elements in two of contemporary Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang's (1957 - ) largest installations to date, Inopportune (2004) and Head On (2006). Comprising multi-media works including gunpowder paintings, simulated animal forms, and firework displays, the two installations explore themes related to the global threat of terrorism in Inopportune and the history of the Berlin Wall in Head On. In exploring these themes, Cai attempts to create a globally accessible dialogue by emphasizing universal elements related to the forces of creation and destruction. For this reason he implements the Daoist characteristics of yin and yang in Inopportune, and the flow of qi in Head On, in an effort to present examples of conflict as part of the eternal cycle of destruction and renewal. Chapters one and two explore the aspects relating to yin and yang in Stage One and Stage Two of Inopportune, and the elements of qi in Head On. Keywords: Daoism, terrorism, Berlin Wall, yin, yang, qi