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Compare And Contrast Of Artworks "Heritage" And "No Man´S Land" By Cai Guo Qiang And Christian Boltanski

1089 words - 5 pages

There are many ways that artists can meaningfully and powerfully connect with their audience, however the most common way is by reflecting belonging, identity and culture within the artwork. Heritage and No Man’s Land are two modern day artworks that reflect belonging, identity and the culture of two artists, Cai Guo-Qiang and Christian Boltanski. These two particular artworks are both spectacular and thought provoking; however, show very different relationships with the Earth and with one another, visually they are quite extreme. Cai Guo-Qiang was born in 1957 in Quanzhou City, China created Heritage in 2013. Born in 1944, Christian Boltanski is a French sculptor; photographer, painter and film maker installed his finest creation ‘No Man’s Land’ in Park Avenue Armory, New York in 2010.

One of Boltanski’s most famous creations called ‘No Man’s Land’ consists of 27215.5 kilograms of discarded clothing, an 18.30 meter tall crane, 3,000 stacked biscuit tins and the recorded sound of human heartbeats. This particular artwork explores the signature idea of his forty-year career Individuality, anonymity, life and death in an immersive landscape that is powerful. Elements of design revealed in No Man’s Land include colour, texture and shape which are shown by the various amount of different clothing and the focal point being the large crane and mountain of clothes situated in the middle of the artwork. There is considerable contrast within the artwork with various colours, shapes and materials, this symbolises the diverse people in the world. Symbols are an important feature of Boltanski’s work; he states in his interviews that “the claw is like the finger of God. God doesn’t care about us and sometimes God takes us by chance. The idea is that you can see each coat, and you can hear the heartbeats, and that means there are people’s identities. But in the mountain of clothes, there’s no more identity because you can’t see if it’s a jacket or coat—everything is mixed together.” (Rosenbaum-Kranson, 2010) Boltanski’s artwork shows the most brutal loses for mankind; the loss of identity, individuality and memories. The meaning of No Man’s Land differs for each new person who walks through his work, he even mentions this in an interview “I think everybody can take what he or she wants… For Jews here, it’s going to make them think about the Holocaust, but for people from Haiti, it’s going to make them think about the earthquake, and for a child, it’s going to make him or her think about toys. I accept all these interpretations.” (Rosenbaum-Kranson, 2010) For many who are part of minority groups or forgotten people, it is certainly an empowering artwork of originality sending a message that we cannot control our life with the most horrid loss being our identity.

Boltanski’s work is thoroughly thought provoking and seems to be mainly about Individuality, anonymity, life and death, loss of identity individuality, memories and resurrection. It makes the...

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