We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art stands and recognise the creative contribution First Australians make to the art and culture of this country.
Not Currently on Display
Cai Guo-Qiang uses the element of fire and the phenomenon of explosion as media in his art making, believing fire to be the originating element of the universe, and pivotal in the development of human civilisation. Fire links humankind with the cosmos and encompasses the duality of creation and destruction. The history and culture of place are important factors in determining the content of a specific project.
For the opening of ‘The Second Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art’, Cai was invited to make an ambitious site-specific gunpowder project for QAGOMA which involved a fireworks display located in and around the Brisbane River. Complementing the planned explosion are nine gunpowder drawings titled Dragon or Rainbow Serpent: A myth glorified or feared (drawings) which have been created by detonating gunpowder charges on paper, leaving a residue of ash and scorch marks that recall the calligraphic forms of traditional Chinese ink drawings. These drawings are complete art works in themselves but are intrinsic to the conceptual integrity and complex process of Cai’s explosive works. Although the final completion of the explosion component of the work was unrealised, the work, Dragon or Rainbow Serpent: A myth glorified or feared (drawings) continues to hold a meaning as a conceptual entity in itself within the larger framework of the planned project.
New York-based artist Cai Guo-Qiang (pronounced tsai gwo-chang) is a remarkable and inventive figure on the contemporary international art scene. Having grown up in China during the Cultural Revolution, Cai was introduced to art and literature by his father. Since the early 1990s, Cai has staged large-scale events that involve fireworks and gunpowder, as well as ambitious and complex installations in museums around the world.
Throughout his career, Cai has made art that reflects his concern for humanity, and his works have appeared in major galleries around the world. He has a long history of engagement with the Queensland Art Gallery, having exhibited commissioned works in two Asia Pacific Triennials of Contemporary Art (APT) in 1996 and 1999, and more recently was the focus of a major solo exhibition at GOMA, ‘Cai Guo-Qiang: Falling Back to Earth’ (2013–14).