Happy and Glorious
24 September – 21 November 2004
Happy and Glorious is the first full-scale exhibition by Cai Yuan & JJ Xi, presenting fusion of new and existing work. The title, taken from the National Anthem, evokes the upbeat patriotic language of Maoist China, revealing an unexpected affinity between Maoist and British imperialist rhetoric.
Central to the exhibition was the enactment of citizenship as bizarre spectacle in their new performance. Using the Union Jack as a symbolic device, the artists reveal how other cultures are obliged to remain performers in the context of cultural difference and national identity. The performance intervened in the continuity of British tradition and also pointed to the cultural ambiguity which occurs during the process of ‘foreigners’ becoming British.