Powdered charcoal, emulsion paint
200*200cm, floor based installation
Zhanjiang, China | 2016
Taiji is a Chinese cosmological term for the 'supreme ultimate' potential, the oneness before duality, from which Yin and Yang originate - symbolised as a single line and a line with an opening, representing male and female, sun and moon etc. Taiji originates from the Book of Changes, originally named I Ching. Altogether there are 64 symbols, divided into hexagrams of codiefied arrangements of the lines, representing the different forces within the natural world. I was interested to convey the complexity of navigating Chinese philosophy and culture as a westerner. I wanted to create an interactive floor-based installation using the charcoal powder from the charcoal firing kiln in the area. I arranged the hexagrams into a geometric pattern to create a labrinth-style network of paths, and made a template of this design. After painting a section of the gallery floor space with white emulsion paint I fixed the template ontop and sprayed a solution of charcoal dust and water onto the surface. After drying I removed the template to leave behind the charcoal geometric pattern. During the exhibition the charcoal gently smudged from the footprints of visitors, and some even knealt down and wiped through the charcoal with their finger - all taking some of it with them as they moved on. After the exhibition had ended I was grateful to receive the help of the university students to clean away the charcoal and emulsion from the floor.