Nice Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art – June 12 2010 to January 9th 2011
This summer, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art will feature artist Cai Guo-Qiang’s exhibition. Born in 1957 in Quanzhou, Fujian Province, he grew up in China during the Cultural Revolution, before emigrating to Japan for 10 years and eventually relocated to New York in 1995. He attended the Shanghai Theatre Academy from 1981 to 1985, where Cai explored the properties of gunpowder in his drawings. This research ultimately led to his experimentation with explosives on a massive scale, and to the development of his signature explosion events. His large-scale installations, which are inspired by feng shui, Eastern philosophy, and contemporary social issues as a conceptual basis, employ a site-specific approach to culture and history. Eminently poetic and ambitious in the core, these events aim to establish an exchange between the viewers and the larger universe around them.

As an internationally renowned artist, Cai Guo-Qiang has left a deep impression in the public’s mind in recent years, particularly with the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Beijing Summer Olympic Games in 2008, and with his retrospective exhibitions at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, which traveled from New York to Beijing and Bilbao. His work employs gunpowder as a predominant material (and manifests in drawings as well as explosion projects), and their resonance with Yves Klein’s Fire Paintings is self-evident in this exhibition.

Travels in the Mediterranean, a 28-meter long gunpowder drawing will be specifically realized for the exhibition. The creation process will be the subject of a performance open to the public in Les Anciens Abattoirs de Nice, before the finished drawing is presented at the Museum in front of a reflection pool. The poetic and sensual mural will express the sentiments of a university student from Shanghai on her first encounter with the French Riviera.

Reflection — A Gift from Iwaki, a giant 15-meter-long excavated wooden boat, filled with broken porcelain pieces, is reconstituted for each exhibition by seven fishermen from the small seaside town of Iwaki in Japan. The work welcomes visitors to embark on another spiritual and sensory voyage.

Lastly, five large-scale video installations offer an outline of the artist’s explosion projects drawing viewers to Cai Guo-Qiang’s rich body of work.

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