Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang‘s ‘Sky Ladder’ and ‘Mystery Circle: Explosion Project for MOCA, Los Angeles’ kicked off a few months ago with this spectacular pyrotechnic show at the gallery in LA. Mystery Circle involved blasting 40,000 rockets off the outside wall of the gallery which even on video is absolutely amazing to watch.
Cai had flying saucer girandolas rising from the rooftop, rockets forming crop circles launched toward the audience before falling to the ground and, following the blaze, an alien-god figure outlined from bottom to top by gunpowder fuse. This opening event was all part of the artists lifelong exploration of natural forces and extraterrestrial life in a project called ‘Projects for Extraterrestrials’.
Although the explosive opening is over this exhibition is open until the 30th July and there’s alot to see. There’s a suspended sculptural installation that replicates the crop circles that have appeared in the grain fields all over the world, three gunpowder drawings; ‘Childhood Spaceship’ that reveals Cai’s childhood reveries of the universe, ‘Chaos in Nature’ that portrays the unstoppable forces and natural disasters such as hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, etc and ‘Desire for Zero Gravity’ which tells the story of a 16th Century Chinese official who attempted to catapult himself into outer space but was to perish in his homemade rocket chair instead.
Cai is well known for his explosion projects and gunpowder drawings (he directed the visual and special effects for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics) and I suggest you check out ‘Black Ceremony’ and ‘Endless’ which are both magnificent installations. One meditative the other explosive.
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