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Posing the Hair against the Head: Global Experiences and Gu Wenda’s Installations of a Utopia

DOI: 10.4236/als.2015.34015, PP. 95-101

Keywords: Contemporary Chinese Art, Utopia, Human Materials, Installation Art, Global Experiences, Gu Wenda

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Abstract:

The Chinese artist Gu Wenda’s installation art series United Nations and Odepus Refound were created after the artist moved to the USA in 1987. In these two art projects, Gu used the human hair and other bodily materials, which marked a big difference and departure from some of his most famous art works using (faked) traditional Chinese writings. This turn to the human body had a lot to do with the artist’s global experiences and his newly gained sense of identity. This paper examined some of the art projects in the two installation series and analyzed how the artist used the human bodily materials—especially the human hair—to challenge the established identities of nation and culture formed in the modern world. In the process, it also endeavored to stake out ideologically what kind of utopia behind the artist’s heroic challenges.

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