Archive: Cai Guo-Qiang
With full force: 99 wolves crash into a glass wall

With full force: 99 wolves crash into a glass wall

Cai Guo-Qiang, Head On, 2006, 99 life-sized replicas of wolves and glass wall
Cai Guo-QiangHead On, 2006, 99 life-sized replicas of wolves and glass wall

Berlin, Singapore, New York, Bilbao, and Brisbane are just a few of the locations in the world that have had the pleasure of experiencing Cai Guo-Qiang’s Head On (2006). For his dramatic and impressive installation, Cai who resides in New York chose to fit 99 life-like stuffed wolves into a glass wall. The stuffed wolves appeared to push towards a transparent wall relentlessly crashing with full force against the glass barrier.

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Massive 8min explosive performance made citizens call the police

Massive 8min explosive performance made citizens call the police

Cai Guo-Qiang - Elegy (Explosion Event), The Ninth Wave at Huangpu riverfront of the Power Station of Art, Shanghai, China

Cai Guo-QiangElegy, chapter one of Elegy: Explosion Event for the opening of Cai Guo-Qiang: The Ninth Wave, realized on the riverfront of the Power Station of Art, Shanghai, China, 5:00 p.m., August 8th, 2014, approximately 8 minutes

Cai Guo-Qiang is a New York based artist and one of the furthermost celebrated contemporary artists originating from China. He is known for a remarkable new kind of fireworks spectacles which he calls “explosion events.” He has taken gunpowder, one of China’s Four Great Inventions and led the way in a new impressive form of art that is substantial and metaphorical. His fireworks represent nature, culture, life, and death.

Cai’s captivation with pyrotechnics had origins in weaponry and physics, evolving into an affinity with traditional Chinese brush painting. Thus the violent explosions are transformed into a tool of art, creating a masterpiece in the sky, a masterpiece that only has a short lifetime, and fades away. Cai’s daytime “explosion events,” intimates classical brush painting. Cai involves organic vegetable dyes as opposed to just gunpowder, the smoke from these “explosion events” gradually blurs in the air almost as ink from a brush stroke is absorbed by rice paper in traditional painting. His daylight skywriting signifies his deep traditionalism and his modernism all at once.

Cai’s work in front of the Power Station of Art in Shanghai, China is eight minutes of colors filing the sky, in a ritualistically sincere elucidation of the ‘death of nature’. The show personifies the natural world with remembrance, looking back on the past and the transitory nature of time through a display of colorful smoke. The smoke fades away until nothing is left, no reminiscence of the beauty that once was, just like everything that exists in nature.

The police asked the artist not to publicize the event to prevent traffic problems. The fireworks left many people clueless, thinking that the massive, yellow and black-and-green clouds were the toxic results of a serious accident. Aware of recent, non-artistic explosions (factory in Jiangsu, gas pipes in Kaohsiung), widely publicized in the Chinese media, concerned locals started calling the police.

Cai Guo-Qiang - Elegy (Explosion Event), The Ninth Wave at Huangpu riverfront of the Power Station of Art, Shanghai, China
Cai Guo-QiangElegy, chapter one of Elegy: Explosion Event for the opening of Cai Guo-Qiang: The Ninth Wave, realized on the riverfront of the Power Station of Art, Shanghai, China, 5:00 p.m., August 8th, 2014, approximately 8 minutes

Cai Guo-Qiang - Elegy (Explosion Event), The Ninth Wave at Huangpu riverfront of the Power Station of Art, Shanghai, China
Cai Guo-QiangElegy, chapter one of Elegy: Explosion Event for the opening of Cai Guo-Qiang: The Ninth Wave, realized on the riverfront of the Power Station of Art, Shanghai, China, 5:00 p.m., August 8th, 2014, approximately 8 minutes

Cai Guo-Qiang - Elegy (Explosion Event), The Ninth Wave at Huangpu riverfront of the Power Station of Art, Shanghai, China
Cai Guo-QiangElegy, chapter one of Elegy: Explosion Event for the opening of Cai Guo-Qiang: The Ninth Wave, realized on the riverfront of the Power Station of Art, Shanghai, China, 5:00 p.m., August 8th, 2014, approximately 8 minutes

Cai Guo-Qiang - Elegy (Explosion Event), The Ninth Wave at Huangpu riverfront of the Power Station of Art, Shanghai, China
Cai Guo-QiangElegy, chapter one of Elegy: Explosion Event for the opening of Cai Guo-Qiang: The Ninth Wave, realized on the riverfront of the Power Station of Art, Shanghai, China, 5:00 p.m., August 8th, 2014, approximately 8 minutes

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99 life-sized replicas of animals in large installation

99 life-sized replicas of animals in large installation

Cai Guo-Qiang - Wateringhole, 99 life-sized replicas of various animals, water, sand, 2013, Brisbane Gallery of Modern Art - 1
Cai Guo-Qiang, Wateringhole, 99 life-sized replicas of various animals, water, sand, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia, 2013

THE EXHIBITION

Cai Guo-Qiang’s first solo exhibition in Australia will be staged at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) from November, 2013 to April, 2014. Spanning the ground floor galleries of GOMA, this exhibition presents major, large scale installations by the Chinese artist. A centrepiece of the exhibition is a dramatic new commission, Heritage, 2013, which features 99 life-sized animals from around the world gathered together at a watering hole. Also featured is Head On, 2006, with its stream of 99 life-sized wolves leaping through the air and crashing into a glass wall. Other new work in the exhibition is inspired by the artist’s experiences in Australia, drawing upon local landscape, history and culture. There will also be a special project devised by the artist for children.

ABOUT CAI GUO-QIANG

Born in China and based in New York, Cai Guo-Qiang draws from Buddhist philosophy, Chinese history and mythology, and contemporary social issues to create spectacular installations and events of astonishing scale and beauty. His works reflect upon the globalised nature of our world, and appeal to broad audiences: he is best known for his awe-inspiring firework displays (featured at the 2008 Beijing Olympics opening and closing ceremonies). His recent solo exhibitions and projects have included the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2006, his record-attendance retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York and the National Art Museum of China in Beijing in 2008 and the Guggenheim Bilbao in 2009; Odyssey, a permanent gunpowder drawing installation for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in 2010; and his first exhibition in the Middle East at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, Qatar, in 2011.

Cai Guo-Qiang, Heritage, 2013. 99 life-sized replicas of animals, water, sand, drip mechanism; installed dimensions variable (detail)
Cai Guo-Qiang, Wateringhole (detail), 99 life-sized replicas of various animals, water, sand, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia, 2013

Cai Guo-Qiang - Heritage, Wateringhole, 99 life-sized replicas of various animals, water, sand, 2013, Brisbane Gallery of Modern Art
Cai Guo-Qiang, Wateringhole (detail), 99 life-sized replicas of various animals, water, sand, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia, 2013

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