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cai guo-qiang ignites gunpowder to scorch intricate patterns on silk canvas

in a explosive display, dynamic contemporary artist cai guo-qiang created a gunpowder drawing ‘transience II (peony)’ in melbourne. at 31 meters in length, the artwork created from fire and gunpowder is the largest of three works presented as part of the melbourne winter masterpieces. located in a warehouse outside the city, cai drew complex patterns in gunpowder, layered upon 11 sections of silk before igniting it. the designed explosion scorches the intricate patterns onto the silk canvas, depicting the blooming process of the peony flower in reference to ancient chinese culture. cai guo-qiang comments: ‘I’ve used gunpowder in my art for the past 30 years. what I like most about it is its spontaneity and unpredictability. every situation is different. it’s an unknown which you will accomplish with the help of an invisible force.’

cai guo-qiang gunpowderimage by tom ross

 

 

the work by cai guo-qiang will be presented at the melbourne winter masterpieces series, opening at NGV international on may 24th. inspired by ancient chinese culture and its enduring philosophical traditions, cai has created all new works, including ‘transience II,’ for the NGV’s world premiere exhibition, ‘cai guo-qiang: the transient landscape’ presented in parallel with ‘terracotta warriors: guardians of immortality.’ the exhibition will also feature a sculpture of porcelain peonies as well as a monumental installation of 10,000 suspended porcelain birds. spiralling over visitors’ heads, the birds create a three-dimensional impression of a calligraphic drawing of the sacred mount li, the site of the ancient tomb of china’s first emperor, qin shihuang, and his warriors.

cai guo-qiang gunpowderimage by tom ross

cai guo-qiang gunpowderimage by tom ross

cai guo-qiang gunpowderimage by tim carrafa

cai guo-qiang gunpowderimage by tom ross

cai guo-qiang gunpowderimage by tom ross

cai guo-qiang gunpowderimage by jason edwards

cai guo-qiang gunpowderimage by tom ross

cai guo-qiang gunpowderimage by jason edwards

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