Cai Guo-Qiang is one of China’s – and perhaps the world’s – foremost contemporary artists. His work is nothing short of spectacular. Particularly when he employs the medium for which he has becomes famous – explosions.
Originally trained in stage design at the Shanghai Theatre Academy, Guo-Qiang has since crossed multiple mediums within art, including drawing, installation, video and performance art.
He began exploring the idea of using gunpowder artistically while living in Japan in the late 1980s and early 1990s. These initial inquiries were the forbearer for his experimentation with pyrotechnics on a massive scale and the eventual development of his signature explosion events.
Guo-Qiang’s latest exhibition opens at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA In Los Angeles on April 8 (running to July 30). Entitled “Cai Guo-Qiang: Sky Ladder”, it will include three new gunpowder drawings specifically commissioned by MOCA and videos depicting his past work.
An outdoor explosion event on the eve of the its opening will undoubtedly be the exhibition highlight. At 7:30pm on Saturday, April 7, Cai will set off three stages of explosions that explore the possibility of life in outer space on the exterior wall of The Geffen Comtemporary (facing Temple Street).
Accoriding to MOCA, the event will begin at dusk, with a myriad of flying saucer girandolas rising from the museum’s rooftop. When ignitied, countless mini rockets will form a string of crop circles launched toward the audience before falling onto the ground.
Subsequently, an imaginary alien-god figure on the left side of the wall will be outlined from bottom to top by gunpowder fuse. When the burned fuses reach the “halo” of the figure, mini rockets will shoot upward to the air.
The rockets will leave a burned imprint on the museum wall, creating an outdoor drawing – the first and final of MOCA’s commissions.
Opportunities to witness in person Cai Guo-Qiang’s remarkable explosion events are incredibly rare. Make sure you don’t miss this opportunity!
Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…Brett Ackroyd