Guoqiang Cai

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Guoqiang Cai
Gunpowder drawing on half-title page of the book Cai Guo-Qiang: I Want to Believe.
11 x 9 3/4 inches (27.9 x 24.8 cm)
Gift of Jessica Ludwig.
Jessica Ludwig.

Born in Quanzhou, China in 1957, Cai Guo-Qiang studied stage design at the Shanghai Theater Academy and began to explore properties of gunpowder in his drawings during the 1980s. Created by igniting the powdered explosive laid on paper, these dynamic and exciting drawings combine elements of chance and structure, demolition and creation, event and aftermath, challenging assumptions about the destructive purpose of the charged material. Cai's multifaceted, experimental deployments of gunpowder draw from his lifelong interests in Taoist cosmology, Chinese medicine, revolutionary tactics, and pyrotechnic technology, among other influences. Although his gunpowder drawings are typically large, mural-sized works created with the help of several assistants, this particular drawing on the half-title page of the catalogue of the exhibition Cai Guo-Qiang: I Want to Believe, held at the Guggenheim Museum in 2008 is unusual in its intimate format.

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