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TAO AND PHYSICS: THE ART OF CAI GUO QIANG

THOUGH CAI GUO QIANG EMIGRATED to Japan in 1986 and now lives in New York, his recent exhibition “Flying Dragon in the Heavens,” at Copenhagen’s Louisiana Museum, clearly presented him as a contemporary artist from China, his birthplace. This emphasis on his origins was made all the more evident by pairing the show with a remarkable archaeological exhibition, “Men and Gods: New Discoveries from Ancient China,” comprising works on loan from the People’s Republic. In the introduction to the accompanying catalogue, curator Anneli Fuchs reminds us that Cai’s “oeuvre rests on a foundation of religious, philosophical, and aesthetic traditions that go back thousands of years,” citing his use of feng-shui (a form of geomancy based on an appeal to cosmic forces and the distribution of the Five Elements) and herbal medicine as artistic devices.

In other words, Cai, too, is meant to be seen as a “new

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