Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Smoke Flowers of Cai Guo Qiang

In Chinese, there are firecrackers, 鞭炮, bian pao, in whose name the second character gives a nice little onomatopoetic blast. And there are fireworks, 烟火, yan huo, which literally translates as "smoke fire", which I misheard early on as the very poetic 烟 花, yan hua: "smoke flowers."

But in the case of the fireworks performance of the artist Cai Guo Qiang... they really were smoke flowers. Eight minutes of colored smoke (environmentally safe food coloring) on the themes of "elegy, remembrance & consolation" that gave me that feeling one sometimes feels so powerfully, of being privileged to be right here, right now, at this very moment in time.

Here's a little gif of images shot during the opening salvo of his current exhibition, "The Ninth Wave," at Shanghai's Power Station of Art. Thru 10/26/14.

gif maker

Click here for the artist's video of the full performance ('cause it's really not the same without the pao!),  here to experience Cai Guo Qiang's artistic power & charisma,  and here for Peasant da Vincis,
an early project of Cai's in Shanghai, that I also truly loved.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, so cool! Thanks for posting. Not sure if "right here, right now" can refer to wherever one sees this, but it sure makes me wish I were in Shanghai.