The Eighth Special Daytime Firework: Celebrating Cultural Melting Bath
On Cailendar Day 66, the eighth special Daytime Firework was revealed to celebrate Cai’s first major solo exhibition in the U.S.: Cultural Melting Bath: Projects for the 20th Century.
The following information is sourced and quoted from:
- Cai Guo-Qiang’s official website: https://caiguoqiang.com/
- Cai Guo-Qiang’s publication: Odyssey and Homecoming
On ‘Cultural Melting Bath’
On August 1, 1997, Cultural Melting Bath: Projects for the 20th Century opened at the Queens Museum of Art, marking Cai’s first major solo exhibition in the United States. The highlight of the exhibition was Cultural Melting Bath: Project for the 20th Century in which Cai evoked the ritual of bathing, an ancient and universal custom for healing and purification which remains integral to communal and social interaction in its public form in East Asia.
Cai combined these cultural references with principles borrowed from Chinese medicine and feng shui. Incorporating Chinese medicine, visitors were invited to bathe in a hot tub with water infused by a prescription of traditional Chinese medicinal herbs meant to promote skin health and relaxation (the prescription was given by a doctor from the artist’s hometown in Quanzhou).
Engaging in tenets of feng shui, the work re-created a Chinese scholar’s garden through the presence of spirit stones (also known as scholar’s rocks) arranged according to feng shui principles to promote the maximum flow of qi (energy) within the surrounding space. The artist playfully borrowed the idea of New York as a cultural melting pot by literally inviting visitors to bathe together, and by providing a forum for social interaction.