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Explosion Project
Cai Guo Qiang (b. 1957, Quanzhou, China; Lives in New York)
Fallen Blossoms: Explosion Project
Philadelphia Museum of Art
December 11, 2009

Explosion Project

Fallen Blossoms: Explosion Project was a site-specific explosion event conceived by Cai Guo-Qiang for the Philadelphia Museum of Art. A blossoming flower of light and fire, the explosion was an ephemeral but mesmerizing ceremony celebrating the creative energy contained in the Museum’s landmark building. The gunpowder fuse shaped like a flower was ignited on December 11 at sunset in front of a large audience. Intended as a gift to the city, the radiance of the blossoming flower faded out after a minute in a finale punctuated by gunpowder salutes.

The title of the explosion event, Fallen Blossoms – also the title of the two-venue exhibition - is derived from a classical Chinese proverb hua kai hua luo which speaks of the profound feeling of loss experienced when a life is cut short unexpectedly. Thus, the event was  also intended as a celebration of the memory of the Museum’s late director, Anne d’Harnoncourt.

A video work documenting the event and titled Fallen Blossoms: Explosion Project will be on display at the Fabric Workshop and Museum until March 1, 2010.

Cai Guo-Qiang: Fallen Blossoms