My Stories Of Painting Opening In The Netherlands


Cai Guo-Qiang, Boy’s Doodle: Drawing for the 25th Anniversary of the EU in Maastricht, 2016. Gunpowder on paper, 138 x 214 cm

Cai Guo-Qiang: My Stories of Painting
September 29 2016: Exhibition Opening and Presentation of the Bonnefanten Award 2016

Maastricht 23.08.2016 – On 29 September, the Bonnefanten Award for Contemporary Art 2016 (BACA) will be presented to Cai Guo-Qiang (1957, Quanzhou, Fujian, China). The BACA is the most important award for international visual art presented in the Netherlands, and it is awarded every two years since 2000. Consisting of a sum of 50,000 Euros, a publication and a solo exhibition, the Award is a tribute to a living non-Western artist with an exceptional oeuvre and a demonstrable influence on other artists, exhibition makers and art professionals. The Bonnefantenmuseum is presenting Cai Guo-Qiang’s first solo exhibition in the Netherlands: My Stories of Painting  (30.09.2016 – 01.05.2017)


Left: Cai Guo-Qiang, Self-Portriat, 1983. Oil on canvas, 40 x 31 cm. Photo courtesy of Cai Studio. Right: Cai Guo-Qiang with Ascending Dragon: Project for Extraterrestrials No. 2, Japan, 1989. Photo courtesy of Cai Studio

Cai Guo-Qiang: My Stories of Painting

My Stories of Painting is the first exhibition that will focus on Cai’s long journey of painting in terms of two parallel paths. The first traces his restless exploration in painting by presenting over a hundred works of various periods, scales and mediums — many of which are shown for the first time. The exhibition begins with his time in China: watercolours and oil paintings, school assignments, experimental paintings, and oil paintings with gunpowder; followed by his time in Japan: paintings created only with gunpowder, and gunpowder drawings for explosion events; it then moves on to his time in New York and the global stage — works reflecting his unique challenge to the issue of painting through his consistent artistic methodology, including recent pieces following his return to creating independent gunpowder paintings. Evolving from black gunpowder to color gunpowder, this new stage registers the artist’s unrestrained pursuit of his childhood dream to become a painter as well as his confrontation with the integral challenges of contemporary painting.

The second path is that of his family: his grandmother, parents, wife, and daughters. Through their paintings, photography, and other works, viewers can see how generation after generation, the artist’s family accompanies and mutually influences Cai. In addition to the exhibition’s scholarly consideration of the artist’s paintings, the viewers will experience the intimate and arduous sides of a painter’s journey. Crossing the boundaries between cultures, the exhibition will resonate widely with audiences, and will be an important milestone in Cai’s decades-long exploration of painting.


Top: Cai Guo-Qiang’s father teaching his grandmother calligraphy, Quanzhou, date unknown; Cai Ruiqin (Father), Untitled (Matchbox Drawings), date unknown. Ink, pen, and pencil on cardboard matchboxes, dimensions variable; Painting of Ci-En Temple where Cai Guo-Qiang’s mother would go to pray. Photo by Ron Amstutz, courtesy of Cai Studio*Bottom: Hong Hong Wu (Wife), Sea Breeze, date unknown. Oil on canvas, 33 x 46 cm; Wenhao Cai (Younger Daughter), Wenhao’s Dream: Creative Sketches for Shanghai Disney Resort, 2015. Set of 26 drawings; oil pastel on paper; each 21.6 x 27.9 cm; Wen-You Cai (Elder Daughter), With the Whole Family, in Preparation of Burning Grandfather’s Paper House for his Afterlife, 2016. C-print; 40.6 x 61 cm. Quanzhou, China.
*All other photos Courtesy of Cai Studio.


Cai Guo-Qiang, Poppy Series: Hallucination No.1, 2015. Gunpowder on canvas,183 x 608 cm. Private Collection.


Cai Guo-Qiang: My Stories of Painting will be accompanied by a catalogue of the same title, available in English and Dutch published by Walther König Publisher. It includes essays by Cai Guo-Qiang, Bonnefantenmuseum director Stijn Huijts, as well as the former director M+ museum in Hong Kong, Lars Nittve.

Bonnefanten Award for Contemporary Art (BACA) 2016

In presenting the exhibition and publication by BACA laureate Cai Guo-Qiang, the Bonnefantenmuseum is once again drawing attention to an exceptional and influential oeuvre within contemporary art and introducing the public to a relevant, yet for many people an unfamiliar chapter of art history. Cai Guo-Qiang was awarded the BACA 2016 by a unanimous vote. The international selection committee for 2016 comprised of Cao Fei (artist), Stijn Huijts (Bonnefantenmuseum director), William Lim (architect, collector), Carol Lu (curator, writer), Lars Nittve (former director M+ Museum Hong Kong) and Uli Sigg (collector).

Invitation to the press preview

The museum invites members of the press to the preview of Cai Guo-Qiang: My Stories of Painting on Thursday 29 September between 11:00am – 12:30pm. Please rsvp via For further information and visual material, please contact Lieke Heijmans, +31(0) 6 27 494 829,

For more information about the artist and the exhibition, please visit:


The BACA and Cai Guo-Qiang: My Stories of Painting receives generous support from the Province of Limburg, DSM, the Bankgiro Loterij, the Mondriaan Fund,  the VSBFonds, the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds and the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands.

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