The Ninth Special Daytime Firework: Celebrating Head On
On Cailendar Day 80, the ninth and final special Daytime Firework was revealed to celebrate Cai’s solo exhibition: Head On.
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 ‘Head On’
Cai’s iconic work Head On was first debuted in August 2006, at the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin, Germany in the artist’s eponymous solo exhibition. The work exemplifies how local history and culture play a central role in his working process.
In this tableau, a pack of ninety-nine life-sized wolves gallops at full force toward a transparent glass wall, leaping through the air in a unified arc, only to collide head-on into the unyielding barrier. The wall — first realized to the exact height and thickness of the Berlin Wall — represents society’s tendency to search only for the obvious, missing instead what may not be immediately evident but ultimately more dangerous.
In Cai’s artistic iconography, wolves possess a ferocity and courageousness similar to tigers and achieve heroism through their collective unity. In this installation, however, their cohesiveness leads to their ultimate downfall, creating a metaphor for the human fallibility of following any collective ideology too blindly. This often leads to humankind’s fate to repeat mistakes unthinkingly.
Since its debut in 2006, Head On has gone on to become Cai’s most traveled work.