Sunday, 8 May 2011

Cai Guo-Qiang


Cai Guo-Qiang is a contemporary Chinese, born in 1957 in Quanzhou City, Fujian Province, who exhibits his installations all over the world. Guo-Qiang has received international attention for his work, which channels many cultural, global, and human issues, as well as his reoccurring theme of explosion. “Looking at the work that I’ve done, I’ve noticed things sticking into or out of objects a lot. I think this has to do with my interest in explosions, but it also has to do with the aesthetics of pain.” (Guo-Qiang, Guggenheim interview) The artist is very widely recognized for his painterly gunpowder drawings, which he crafts by literally placing explosives onto the surface of the canvas, and lighting them. Guo-Qiang references many Eastern stories and folklore, recalling his youth spent in China, as well as allusions to global politics such as the push pull of capitalism/communism, reflecting his years living under the rule of Mao Zedong. For example, his installation, Head On, directly reference the history of Berlin, namely allegories for the "Iron Curtain" separating East from West, capitalism from communism. Guo-Qiang constructed 99 wolves synthetically and suspended them in a seemingly perpetual pack stampede into a glass wall, where they make a chaotic impact, fall to the ground, get up and run again to the back of the line. The installation is meant to relate historically to Berlin's history, as well as being "related to the destiny of mankind." "As we know, glass walls are not structural, and invisible walls are the hardest to destroy." (Guo-Qiang, Guggenheim interview)

Guo-Qiang. "I Want To Believe, Head On, 2006" YouTube: guggenheimbilbaio, 2009. 30 Apr. 2009

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