Born in China in 1956, Cai Yuan has been living in the UK since the 1980s. Cai Yuan trained at the Royal College of Art and Chelsea College of Art. His most recent projects include One Man Demo (2010-2011), ©Cai Yuan, Fancy series (2011); and Military Tai-ch’i (2011- ). One Man Demo and Military Tai-Ch’i explore issues of spiritual endurance within economic, political and social states of change in the contemporary context.
His work aims to tackle critical social and political questions through the use of the body and everyday domestic materials. Ideological and geographical symbolism of differing cultural spheres is brought into play in the performance through placing the masked body in a landscape or room. Evoking politics, war and social change in a global context, the performance operates at the nexus of social, political and artistic life. Using intervention to question the individual’s relationship with power and the institution, the work provokes questions about the human spirit in the face of political or institutional power.
His exhibitions include The Global Contemporary, Art Worlds After 1989, ZKM, Germany (2011), The Flower of May, Gwangju Museum of Art, South Korea (2010); 2nd Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art, Greece (2009); One World One Dream, Aircraft Carrier Project,Tokyo Gallery+BTAP, Beijing, China; (2009); National Review of Live Arts, Glasgow (2008); Far West, Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol, UK (2008); Soya Sauce Ketchup Fight, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark (2007); Transfiguration, Louise T Blouin Foundation (2007); Vital International Performance Festival, Manchester (2006); Struggle Criticise Reform, Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt, Berlin (2006);
Apple of My Eye, V&A Museum, London (2005); Monkey King Causes Havoc in the Heavenly Palace, British Museum (2004); Peripheries Become the Centre, Prague Biennale 1 (2003); Live Culture, Tate Modern (2003); You are Here, Bluecoat Arts Centre, Liverpool Biennale (2002); Touring London, inIVA (2001); Two Artists Piss on Duchamp’s Urinal, Tate Modern (2000); Cities in the Move, Hayward Gallery, London (1999).