Blown away, Cai Guo Qiang


It’s officially halfway through our last week and I’m feeling the super pressure to see anything and everything.  I had the most amazing night with Jennifer (my mentor) and her husband Geoffrey the night before last and barely slept after the whirlwind that was Monday.

After school we met up with the group at 3:30 PM to head to the Tiapei Fine Arts Museum.  On display was an amazing artist named Cai Guo Qiang, which I still cannot confidently pronounce but have the utmost appreciation for.  His art is astounding and the sheer size and breadth of his installations and 2-dimensional images is mind-boggling.  He does a lot of work with gunpowder where he and his team of helpers set off live gunpowder on paper before quickly putting out the smoke and flames to uncover images like I have never seen before.  What is unique about Qiang is that he does not hide his process from the viewer, he makes it a part of viewing his work.  Near each set of galleries or halls you can sit for a minute and watch a video detailing the lengthy process of bringing his visions to life.  Here is some of the work that we saw…

Full size models of wolves running in a pack and crashing into a glass barrier; you could walk all around them, under and over. This is a picture from the exhibition at the Guggenheim, but at Taipei Fine Arts they were arranged so that they were running back toward the original line to get back in formation and run towards the glass again.

Qiang's father was a traditional Japanese calligraphy artist and a piece of his about tigers was the inspiration behind his sculptures of 9 stuffed lions being attacked by arrows.

This piece is my favorite. I saw it online prior to visiting the museum and was totally blown away by the sheer size and the message within it. This ship was found on the coast buried in the sand and Qiang and his team spent days digging it out to turn into this installation. It is surrounded by thousands of pieces of white porcelain plates and deities broken into pieces.

An example of one of Qiang's works in gunpowder. They literally set them off in huge explosions before putting them out and analyzing the images. Each image is carefully planned as Qiang spreads the gunpowder around the paper, drawing shapes in the negative space. Fascinating!

Well, I have got to go back to class now.  Time to watch Mr. Badgley show the eighth grade artists how to print from their drypoint etchings.  I have so many things to blog about and will continue to work on it every spare minute to share all of these amazing things with you.  Next time I’ll tell you all about the Chiang Kaishek Memorial Hall (I took 105 pictures there…), Martyr’s Shrine (where my camera also got quite a workout) and some of the crazy restaurants I’ve been to in the last few days.

Until next time,



2 Responses to “Blown away, Cai Guo Qiang”

  1. 1 Nate

    This is great, thanks Lindsay!

  2. 2 Mom

    Just fascinating! Can’t wait to hear more and see your photos. Love you!!

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