Exhibition Event Title
Cai Guo-Qiang: Flying Dragon in the Heavens (Louisiana Museum of Modern Art)
Date of Exhibition Event
March 8-April 27, 1997
Location of Exhibition Event
9 stone dragons, wooden crates, wooden boat, 60 paper lanterns, 30 paper lanterns for children, 9 portraits of Mao by Andy Warhol from the Louisiana Collection
Upon entering the installation, 9 Stone Dragons were positioned on either side of the walls, still kept in their original shipping crates. As the curator of the exhibition notes, the significance of the stone dragons “vividly expresses that they have just been shipped, untouched, from one country to another. It may give an impression of Mao and Mao’s time.” Cai, who specifically asked to install the Warhol pieces of Mao alongside his work, invokes both the eastern and western perceptions of Mao. The curator goes on to write, “The portraits of Mao are placed in the same room as the dragons, which through China’s history have become an eternal authoritarian symbol. The red color of the paper lanterns reflect on them and give the impression of revolution.”
“In addition to the red authority of the exhibition room, the paper lanterns also create an atmosphere of naivete, fantasy and romance.”
In addition the the historical and political tone of this installation, Cai also intended the viewer, namely children, to become apart of the piece. The curator states that upon entering the installation, the children were given paper lanterns to carry, lighting up the space alongside the works of art. The performative, interactive action of carrying the lantern also links the space of each exhibition room, creating a sense of continuity in pieces that otherwise might have felt distant.
Fuchs, A., & Lund, E. (Eds.). (1997). Flying Dragons in the Heavens (A. Mester, Trans.). Denmark: Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.