Kloset Kase Blog

October 23, 2008, 2:12 pm
Filed under: art | Tags: , , , , ,

On the fourth of July I stood in the welcoming summer rain, on a rooftop of an old Williamsburg building on Metropolitan Avenue. As I watched the bombarding, bursting splendor of colors light up the dark skies of the Hudson River, I couldn’t help but think about the artist behind the madness, a guy who choreographed how this summer holiday display would all pan out in the heavens. This year’s largest aerial display yet, was organized by Macy’s and Pyro Spectaculars, who choreographed the ultra high-tech display, via magic marker drawings. And some of the most exotic shells in the world, were used in putting out rarely seen pyrotechnic effects. A highlight of this was a floating firework – which floated in the water, shooting out fireworks.

Which brings me to Cai Guo-Qiang who recently had an exhibit this summer at the Guggenheim Museum titled: “I Want To Believe.” These elaborate, well orchestrated installations of energy and transformation, such as gunpowder drawings and video documentation of explosion events, to name a few, occupied the entire space of the museum.
Cai Guo-Qiang was born in 1957 in Quanzhou City, Fujian Province, China, son of a Historian and Painter who was trained in stage design at the Shanghai Drama Institute in the 80’s. Cai’s work greatly emphasizes on a shared, communal creative process of townspeople working together towards the artist’s vision. It is conceptually rendered by the people and for the people, with a socially conscious message, ignited with his response to political struggle around the world. China’s oppressive social habitat gave way to his instincts and allowed him to explode artistically. This led him to his exploration of gunpowder intermingled with his drawings. Which correlates with the history of his culture, since 9th century Chinese Alchemists were responsible for discovering gunpowder, in search an “elixir of immortality.” But this experimentation propelled him to using explosives on a massive scale, with a much greater canvas, our skies. Thus giving birth to a series of “explosion events,” incorporating fireworks and pyrotechnics such as “Projects for Extraterrestrials,” which was an “aim to establish an exchange between viewers and the larger universe around them.” Quite metaphysical to me, because I find his explosions to be like an epiphany of sorts.
Amongst some of my favorite installations was the pack of ninety-nine ferocious looking wolves, galloping in the air-which wind up colliding head on into a glass wall. Cai suggests on how even the most courageous, who find strength in cohesive unity, will follow blindly-setting themselves up for failure in repeating mistakes. His works are charged with a wide variety of symbols, such as the nine American cars exploding, symbolizing the threat to the unit of family, American freedom and power.

Learn more HERE
Edinburgh Castle at 7pm on July 29, 2005. Cai Guo-Qiang produced this an an eulogy for the victims of explosive attacks across the world. DIXIE ROSE FERNANDEZ


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