Monday, February 14, 2011

"Splendour and Solitude" Cai Guo-Qiang at MUAC......

















Don't miss the trip down to the UNAM University campus to see Cai Guo-Qiang's first solo exhibition in Latin America " Resplandor y Soledad". The Chinese artist is renowned for his "explosion events" using pyrotechnics and fireworks on a large scale, as well as his gunpowder drawings (production pictured above), and site specific installations. In Chinese, the word gunpowder literally means "fire medicine" and Cai plays with the healing and destructive tendencies inherent in such material. Look at the transformation from destructive explosion to created serene and tranquil scene......















Cai's site specific installation for MUAC has created in the gallery space a highly dramatic and theatrical panoramic landscape of volcanic rock and lake which echoes Mexico City's foundation on Lake Texcoco.....













The lake is actually made from the alcohol mezcal which seems to give it particularly vibrant reflective qualities....














Around the lake are a sequence of fourteen gunpowder drawings that represent aspects of the Mexican landscape and culture - from cacti and maguey to Quetzalcoatl and Aztec warriors presided over by an immense exploding sun....


















The images may be Mexican, but the sensibility is certainly Chinese, and it is extraordinary the detailed effects he can create from the gunpowder explosions which are so reminscent of the delicate inkwashes and fine brushstrokes of traditional Chinese art....












One of the most fascinating aspects of the exhibition is the room in which videos are shown of the artist at work - never has the production of art seemed so dynamic or intriguing with a cool, calm, and composed Cai in the middle of explosions whereby his assistants are either running for cover or dashing in to dampen down the flames. Here is a final image of the tranquility and solitude created from the violence and destruction of the explosions....



Indeed his social idealism which characterises all change, however, violent as carrying the seeds of positive creation seems particularly relevant and topical when viewing current global events. Cai Guo-Qiang is widely recognised as one of the most important figures of the contemporary art scene to emerge from post-revolutionary China. His exhibition continues at MUAC (Museum of Contemporary Art) until the 27th March 2011. For more global glimpses this week, check out My World Tuesday postings by clicking here. Enjoy!

6 comments:

Sylvia K said...

What a terrific and fascinating post for the day, Catherine! I would love to be able to see his work! Your photos are the next best thing! Thanks for sharing them with us! Enjoy your week!

Sylvia

J Bar said...

Amazing.

Joyful said...

Very interesting photos you've posted and some great information :-)

Sylvia K said...

Don't know if you got my email, but I would love to meet you when you come to Seattle!

Sylvia

...louciao... said...

Incredible!

Catherine said...

Don't hesitate to see his work if you get the chance...