This is a virtual demonstration of an imaginary exhibition that only happens in my mind.
Please see the video below.
Press release (if an imaginary exhibition needs one)
Tiger Chengliang Cai is glad to feature An Imaginary Exhibition: Rise and Fall here on his website. The video installation consists of 2 infinite loop animations, 'Yuri's Endless Journey', 'The Fall of Icarus', and 1 player piano (a piano can play by itself). Please see the following descriptions of 2 loop animations.
Yuri’s Endless Journey:
A loop animation
Yuri is the first name of Yuri Gagarin, the first human being in space. In 1961, Gagarin took the USSR spacecraft, Vostok 1, and entered the earth orbit. He stayed on the orbit for 1 hour and 48 minutes, and returned to earth safely. However in 1968, Gagarin died tragically young in an aircraft crash during his training mission. Later, USSR authority built up a gigantic statue in Moscow, which shows Gagarin flying upward to the sky.
In the animation, the statue of Gagarin flies through stars, nebulas and galaxies, toward a beam of mysterious light. His journey seems to be never end. I believe this is a metaphor of the ambition, desire and faith of human civilization. Despite all our nobility and greatness, humans are lonely. We have to complete this journey alone. No matter how hard we tried, we probably will be never able to touch the ultimate truth of the universe, either. Like this close loop of animation, we must go up, which means higher, faster and stronger, till the end of time; and there is no other choice for us.
The Fall of Icarus:
A loop animation
In Greek methodology, Icarus is the son of the great craftsman Daedalus. Icarus attempted to use his father’s artificial wings to escape from Island Crete. As he flied too high and too close the sun, the wings broke down, and he fell into the sea. Many artists had created artworks on this theme through history. The most famous version is from Pieter Bruegel the Elder, in which he depicted the story in a humorous but sad way.
In my animation, Icarus is a USSR astronaut, whose backpack is burning and falling continuously toward the earth. He falls through clouds and winds, but somehow never finally reaching the ground. If what we see in the another animation is only the statue of Gagarin, could this falling astronaut be Yuri himself? There are no answers. The rise and the fall is a critical discourse in philosophy. But what if falling is not an easy movement of self-destruction; what if falling is actually an endless process of self-deconstruction, just like how the world works today?
(Music credit: Études for Piano, Book 2, No. 9, by György Ligeti.)