Cover image of the review
Installation view of Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality and Cai Guo-Qiang: The Transient Landscape. 2019. NGV International. Photo: Sean Fennessy

Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality & Cai Guo-Qiang: The Transient Landscape
  • Wen Xiao

17 Aug 2019
NGV International 23 May - 12 Oct 2019

“Imagine they all come alive!” says a young schoolboy. His words, along with the highly naturalistic style of terracotta warriors, remind us of Mamoru Oshii's renowned screen production Ghost in the Shell: Innocence (2004). The film discusses the ambiguous boundary between human and anthropomorphous robots, challenging the conventional understanding of life as distinct from technology. Through “Terracotta Warriors & Cai Guo-Qiang”, this year's Melbourne Winter Masterpieces presentation at the NGV Internationalis primarily an introductory exhibition of Chinese funerary rituals, at certain points it addresses the tragic aspect of human destiny just like Oshii's film. Cai's focus on Taoism raises the inquiry of our human relationship with the universe. Together, the unique combination of the ancient terracotta warriors and a contemporary Chinese artist may encourage audiences to rethink mankind's long-lasting question of the relationship between life and death.

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