“I am an artist, so of course I want to make my work fly.”

Born 1977, Shuangliao City, Jilin

Gao Feng’s father is an architect who often took his work home with him, so it’s not surprising that the artist has a knack for design and tinkering. Making suitcases fly like helicopters took a little more engineering know-how than he has, though, so Gao Feng ended up hiring some experts to help him get his concept for Flying (2007) off the ground. He travels a good deal, and says he got the idea for the work while carting his suitcases through yet another airport. “What if they could move on their own?” he wondered. Viewers watching the cheap, slightly battered luggage rise into the air with a locust buzz are reminded of what suitcases represent: the belongings that we feel tied to yet trapped by, and our fantasies of escaping into new experiences and, for many travellers, new lives. “A suitcase encloses all the necessities of its owner,” Gao Feng says, “including his or her dreams, pleasures and sorrows.”

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