Danqi Cai

Maryland Institute College of Art
Bachelor of Fine Arts

by | May 20, 2019 | Undergraduate 2019

Artist’s Statement
My work contemplates the ethics and perils of biological reproduction through printmaking, a medium that metaphorically bridges life and death. With “womb” being the Latin origin of “matrix”—a key element of printmaking—print media is akin to reproduction. A generative matrix begets multiplicity, just as we begin by making copies of our cells.

I make prints to cope with difficult emotions that arise from reading news regarding childbearing and child-rearing. These true stories often lay bare contradictory values that we harbor. My lithographic scroll, for instance, comments on the current gender imbalance in China, and explores the irony of people not wanting daughters yet desperately needing wives for their sons.

My prints are not only social commentaries, but also self-portraits. In some of my lithographs, for example, I reference my own body to depict the fertile female who finds herself diminished by her ability to bring forth life. In other lithographs, my one-month-old portrait becomes the face of the fetus, who has the rare opportunity to decide whether she wants to be born or not.

My multimedia triptych, To Be or Not to Be?, not only alludes to printmaking’s connection to birth and life, but also examines its connection to death. This project includes two 26” x 20” lithographs and a sixteen-minute-long video displayed in between the two prints. It delves into an existential question: whether life is a gift or a curse.

Website: danqicai.com
Instagram: danqicai
E-mail: dcai@mica.edu