CAI GUO-QIANG’S THERE AND BACK AGAIN
By Naomi Barling
As an artist who was born in China, studied in Japan, and currently lives and works in America, Cai Guo-Qiang. work explores a symbolic contrast and synchronization of the Eastern philosophy and the Western values. His new exhibition titled There and Back Again showcases significant recent works by the artist who is one of the leading Chinese contemporary artists. It is the first large-scale solo exhibition of the artist to be held in Japan in the last seven years and will be housed at the Yokohama Museum of Art from July 11, 2015.
Cai was trained in stage design at the Shanghai Theater Academy, and lived in Japan for nearly nine years, from 1986 to 1995. His work over the years has consisted of the use of multiple mediums within art, including drawing, installation, video and performance. While living in Japan from 1986 to 1995, he explored the properties of gunpowder in his drawings, an inquiry that eventually led to the development of his signature explosion events.
During his time in Japan he also began exhibiting at art museums and participating in exhibitions internationally. Since 1995, he has been based in New York and today he has become one of the most active contemporary artists in the world.
Cai is best known for his drawings made by the explosion of gunpowder, ephemeral events using fireworks and other media, and grand scale installations. By applying unconventional materials and innovative techniques, he incorporates materials commonly used in Chinese culture such as gunpowder and Chinese traditional medicine. He grounds his artworks in the philosophy of Feng Shui meaning harmonizing everyone with the surrounding environment. The Chinese term Feng Shui translates as “wind-water” in English.
The show features a new large-scale two-dimensional work which is going to be produced specifically in Yokohama, as well as installations including “Head On” that will debut in Japan. The new work will be created in Cai’s signature medium, igniting gunpowder on paper for which the subject will be selected through the artist’s research on the history and culture of the city.
This will be a monumental solo exhibition that revisits Japan the country where Cai Guo-Qiang formed his artistic career! The works will be on show at the Yokohama Museum of Art from July 11, to October 18, 2015.