"Let One Hundred Flowers Bloom" (2005)

"Let One Hundred Flowers Bloom," 2005
Zinc platform, 25 zinc containers, nine compact axial fans, air conditioning system, irrigation system, lighting system, 100 flowers, earth, video projection.
Platform: 26 1/4 x 26 1/4 feet.
Video: 9 minutes.
Installation view: Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma.
© Alfredo Jaar, courtesy Galerie Lelong, New York.

"’Let One Hundred Flowers Bloom’ is based on a Chinese poem (Let one hundred flowers bloom/Let one hundred schools of thought contend) that Mao used in a campaign in the 1950s, calling upon Chinese intellectuals to critique the Revolution from within. They were afraid, but the campaign lasted a year and, at the end, the intellectuals were convinced that Mao wanted to hear their opinions. They questioned the essence of the Revolution. Mao was unhappy with their reactions, and what the intellectuals feared actually happened. They were imprisoned, tortured, and quite a few were killed."
- Alfredo Jaar