Archive for category exhibitions
Fabrication has begun for Heritage, an installation featuring 99 life-sized animal sculptures, including giraffes, pandas, lions, tigers, and kangaroos, all drinking together from a lake. The installation, surrounded by white sand, is inspired by his visit to Stradbroke Island in 2011.
Heritage will be unveiled for Falling Back to Earth, Cai’s first solo exhibition in Australia staged exclusively at Brisbane’s Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art opening November 23, 2013.
All photos by Cai Canhuang, courtesy Cai Studio.
Cai recently returned from the Venice Biennale, where he unveiled his latest installation Full-Body Scan: Next!
A few images for your enjoyment. All images courtesy Cai Studio.
For the 55th Venice Biennale, Cai has been invited to show at White Light / White Heat, the exhibition created in collaboration between curator James Putnam and artisans at Bernego Studio in Venice. Alongside 65 other artists featured, Cai will stage Full-Body Scan: Next!, his first attempt to employ glass as a medium in his work.
Subtly taking root from the fine line between “safety” and “danger.” Cai has asked the glass artisans to fabricate ten wearable suicide bomber’s vests in glass. All parts are made from glass, but the explosives, detonators, wires, and shrapnel in the glass pockets are created from spurious odds and ends posing as the genuine.
A metal-detector gate often seen at security check points will hang a glass suicide bomber’s vest. A slideshow will be projected from behind the vest, showing people of different ethnicity, gender, and attire, each raising their arms with somber facial expressions, as if going through full-body scanners.
At the opening reception on May 31st, models wearing everyday clothes will put on the glass suicide bomber’s vests and nonchalantly wander in Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti, mingling with opening guests. Overhead close-circuit cameras will quietly document the goings-on, quietly suggesting that the danger is everywhere, and not only do we fail to protect ourselves from harm, but we sometimes lack the knowledge of what is the real danger.
White Light / White Heat will be presented in three venues:
Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti, Campo S. Stefano, 2847, Venice;
Berengo Centre for Contemporary Art and Glass, Campiello della Pescheria Murano, Venice;
Scuola Grande Confraternita di San Teodoro, San Marco, 4810, Venice.
We hope to see you there.
Cai Guo-Qiang: Da Vincis do Povo moved onto the second leg of its exhibition run in São Paulo. Whereas its previous iteration in Brasilia was nestled deep in the campus greenery of CCBB, this time the flying machines and contraptions took to the streets. Below, a few installation shots, as well as images from opening day.
After a two-month-long run in Brasilia, Cai Guo-Qiang: Da Vincis do Povo moves onto São Paulo. The exhibition is scheduled to open at both Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil and Museu dos Correios on April 20, before heading to its final stop in Rio de Janeiro in August.
Some images from the installation process thus far for your viewing pleasure.
去年秋末，我在乌克兰的一个矿山的城市作了展览，那里同样延续着社会主义文化。为了体验矿工生活，我和他们一起钻进了1000多米深的地下，探索自己与矿工们在社会主义文化深层里的勾连。为防瓦斯爆炸，所有手机，相机都被留下。一个大妈让我们脱光衣服，换上矿工外套、包头包脚、套上长靴、扣上矿工盔、背着供电盒和一个救生氧气筒。矿长说遇难时不动的情况下这氧气筒可支撑一个半小时，我悄悄带去了一张奶奶给我的黄色护身符。向前摸索的途中我们遇到塌方，看着巨大的岩石把比火车铁轨还粗壮的拱形钢梁压弯，矿工们用千斤顶为我们撑起重压… …我曾几次想到应该止步了，可乌克兰人并没停下，他们给过我们许诺，要让我们见识矿工们在地球深处的生活。我们终于爬在了一个只有棺材厚度的岩缝里， 矿长掉转身体说：“到尽头了”。1040米下，我卧在岩板间，暗黑与死寂里突然感受到舒缓与平静的幸福感。后来我邀请了当地一样受社会主义现实主义教育的画家们来写生矿工，并用火药炸出来，成为像革命年代游行队伍肩扛着的领袖肖像，只不过换成了一个个矿工巨大的头像。2个月后， 那里的煤矿发生矿难，20人死亡，17人失踪。在地球的深处，人类还在静悄悄的向尽头走去。
3月我来到了洛杉矶，在好莱坞标志的山顶旁有一个天文台，去月球的宇航员曾在那受训，训练他们从月球返航途中，一旦仪器失灵，如何用肉眼看宇宙星空，返回地球。我就想从这个天文台点燃一个500多米向宇宙升起的梯子。夕阳下，一个火光红色的梯子伸进云彩，全洛杉矶的人都能看得到。不知这梯子是为了要上去，还是要下来…… 可惜计划没有实现，但展览还是以它为主题，强调了我的作品背后一直有的看不见世界的力量对我的影响。我在当代美术馆内作了3副巨大的火药草图，表现大自然灾害不可抗拒能量之混沌、表现古今人类为走向宇宙，对脱离重力的幻想和各种稚朴的尝试，最后一件33米长4米高取名《童年宇宙船》的画面上，从我奶奶，圣严法师到爱因斯坦，霍金；从El Greco的风景画到倪赞的山水画；从风水故事，气功中医图谱到现代人类对外太空的探索，也包括由90年代以来我实施的外星人计划，炸出少年的我一路成长以来对宇宙和看不见世界的好奇与迷恋。这就是东方的宇宙、我的宇宙：除了宇宙物理学对外太空的探索，地球、自然、生命、还包括风水、中医、气功、神鬼、祖先等等 。
****UPDATE! (as of 2:26 pm EST Monday, October 29)
Due to chaos in nature and forces from unseen worlds (aka, Hurricane Sandy), the event and book signing at New York Public Library on Tuesday, October 30 will be canceled until further notice. Stay tuned for more details and until then, stay dry!
For our friends in New York, just a reminder that Cai will be in conversation with art historian and former Cai Studio Project Director Lesley Ma at the New York Public Library on October 30.
In addition to an in-depth conversation, the free event will feature an audience Q&A and book signing of Cai Guo-Qiang: Ladder to the Sky. The book beautifully documents his recent exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and includes narrations by the artist himself of his influences, thoughts, and inspirations found throughout his work.
More details here.
And what is a save-the-date without a few images?
August 21, Cai and Kelly (Project Manager) landed in Aalborg, three weeks before A Clan of Boats opened on September 6. Aalborg is a city in North Jutland, the peninsula that connects Denmark to continental Europe. Jens Faurschou, co-founder of the Faurschou Foundation (formerly Faurschou Gallery), and Tine Harden, photographer and friend of Jens’s since the two were toddlers (their mothers are life-long best friends), joined Cai and Kelly on the trip to offer a Danish point of view, as Cai explored the land of the north, something still foreign to him with his southeast China upbringing.
The relationship between Cai and Denmark began in 1997, when Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk hosted his first solo exhibition in the Western world, Flying Dragons in Heavens. During the installation period, Cai and his family stayed in the boathouse next to the Museum for over a month. There, he was first exposed to the long and brutal winter of Scandinavia, and developed an interest in the Vikings, their culture and history.
Cai decided to explore North Jutland after reading National Park Thy, a book the foundation sent for Cai’s reference while brainstorming the theme of the exhibition, right after the initial site survey in summer 2011. The lyme grass covered sand dunes under the dramatic clouds photographed in the book intrigued Cai, as they did so many artists before him. The foursome first arrived at Svinkløv, a seaside town 2 hours west of Aalborg, close to Thy. The northwestern coast of Jutland, facing the North Sea, is lined with sandy beaches, where it is so windy, that only plants as close to the ground as the sand-loving lyme grass, and certain subshrubs, could withstand the gust. The athletic Jens led the group up and down the dunes, right next to the Svinkløv Badehotel, a small, simple retreat that dates back to early 20th century. “Many couples come here for a romantic getaway,” Jens explained. “That is why apart from us, you see mostly elderly and young pairs.”
The traditional dinner served at the hotel restaurant was very relaxing, hearty, and delicate. Jens and Tine monitored their watches, as they wanted to make sure Cai gets to see the sun setting into the North Sea. And indeed, though very cloudy, the dusk turned the sky a coral pink. Many of the diners put down their silverware and napkins, and joined Cai to capture the last ray of summer sun. Even though it was mid-August, the temperature during the day was at an average of 18C/65F, and as the sun went down, the mercury would drop to around 11C/51F.
The next morning, the quartet set off early to Thy, after a simple, healthy Danish breakfast.
Denmark is largely a plain, and the flatness of the landscape makes it easy to see faraway. Vast fields of various crops unfolded from either side of the highway, with one-story houses straight out of fairy tale illustrations dotting the greenery, and rows of wind turbines steadily turning in the background. Horses in capes, cattle, and sheep, all grazed quietly in the scenery. Before entering the district of Thy, Jens drove along the Limfjord, and made a stop to show Cai a generic ancient church in Hanstholme. The church appeared a minimalist structure with no tower and bearing no cross, common in the area when Christianity first arrived in Scandinavia and later under Lutheran influence.
Next, Jens told Cai about the history of the region as the four got back into the car. “During the Second World War, the Germans were afraid that the Alliance would attack from Denmark, so the German troops were stationed here, along the shore.” He took a turn, and the road was no longer paved with asphalt. “I am pretty sure this was paved by the Germans,” he pointed ahead.
The foundation scheduled an appointment with Professor Thomas Højrup, an enthnologist at the University of Copenhagen, but resides in Thorup, very close to Thy. There was some time until the meeting, and Jens suggested another quick stop at Vorupør Strand, a beach covered with empty crab shells, making crunch sounds as people walked over. Fishermen took only the claws of large crabs, leaving the body of the crabs to nature, namely flocks of seagulls that had their eyes set on the feast. Tine asked one of the locals, who loaded baskets of claws onto his truck, and found out that only the claws were consumed as a base of stock. In order for Cai to take photos of the birds flying instead of fighting over dead (partial) crabs, Jens, Tine, and Kelly waved their arms as they jumped, mimicking birds flapping their wings, tricking the seagulls to think large predators were close. Unfortunately there was no photo of this silly action!
Professor Højrup can qualify as a Renaissance man. He led the group to the Thorup Strand, a beach only a stone’s throw from his house, and explained in great detail about the tradition of boat building and seafaring. Thorup is an active fishing harbor, but unlike harbors of the rest of the world, here on the west coast of Jutland, they continue the Viking practice of pulling the hulls ashore instead of docking in the sea. This is why the boats are all built with a flat bottom, and the reason the Vikings could very quickly raid and trade along the coastline of Europe.
At lunch time, Professor Højrup welcomed Cai and co to his house to dine with his family of four. The food was simple, fresh, and delicious, and everyone felt satisfied and grateful for the warmth and hospitality. Then, Professor Højrup drove everyone to his boatbuilding workshop at Slettestrand, where he and a small team teach the local young people the trade of traditional boatbuilding by hand. “In the old days, this would be a craft passed down from fathers to sons,” he said. “We want to continue this tradition, as no two boats are built the same – because no two trees are alike. The art of boatbuilding is not something that can be written down into a formula to follow; it is mostly by experience, by touch. Everyone’s method is slightly different.”
The boats the workshop built are not just for display; many of them were on the beach, just a few steps away from the workshop. The workshop also has a showroom, where they explain to the public where they have found the original vessel or wreck, what period they think the boat was from, and how they either repaired or replicated it. What they do is very similar to that of conservators in a museum, especially those in departments that deal with older artifacts; for instance, piecing together an ancient painting that is now in shreds. The shipbuilders (or “skippers”) at Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde often consult Professor Højrup and his students when they have a new project of replicating an existing, historical boat.
Cai’s latest exhibition A Clan of Boats is well underway, and will be up until December 7, 2012 at the Faurschou Foundation (Copenhagen, Denmark). The show features a set of new gunpowder drawings created with the assistance of local volunteers, the signature installation Reflection–A Gift from Iwaki and Freja: Explosion Event for Faurschou Foundation.
Videographer extraordinaires Mathias Nyholm Schmidt and Simon Weyhe documented the entire process on site–take a look:
Cai’s gunpowder drawings are handmade from Japanese hemp paper–crisp, white and incredibly susceptible to smudges. The booties worn by staff members and volunteers (Cai himself likes to up the ante by wearing slippers from the local hotel) are to help prevent unintentional footprints.
A little ditty, taken by photographer Wen-You Cai in Copenhagen, Denmark.