All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Jessica Dallow

Advisory Committee Members

Lucy Curzon

Cathleen Cummings

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences


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.



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