Cai Guo-Qiang ignites one of his gunpowder drawings at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, October 2009.
About the Artist
Cai Guo-Qiang was born in 1957 in Quanzhou City, Fujian Province, China. He initially began working with gunpowder to foster spontaneity and confront the suppression that he felt from the controlled artistic tradition and social climate in China at the time. While living in Japan from 1986 to 1995, he explored the properties of gunpowder in his drawings, which led to the development of his signature explosion events. His installation works draw upon feng shui, philosophy, Chinese medicine and history, employing a site-specific, interdisciplinary approach that cuts across diverse mediums including drawing, painting, video and performance art. Cai was awarded the Golden Lion at the 48th Venice Biennale in 1999, the 7th Hiroshima Art Prize in 2007, and the 20th Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize in 2009. He was Director of Visual and Special Effects for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. In 2008, he was the subject of a retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. He has lived in New York since 1995.