Cai Guoqiang’s art of gunpowder
The fireworks display of the 70th Anniversary Celebration of the National Day, which just came to a close, is awesome. Behind the stunning performance is the feeling of homeland in the heart of the fireworks director and famous artist Cai Guoqiang. An exclusive interview with Cai Guoqiang tells the artistic path of him and his daughter Cai Wenyou.
If the 29 “big footprints” at the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games made Cai Guoqiang and his blasting art stunning the world, then “Cai-style fireworks”, which was just unveiled at the 70th anniversary celebration in Beijing. Like the reunion between old friends, Cai Guoqiang claimed that the effect of this fireworks display was “big, beautiful and fierce.”
Cai Guoqiang is one of the most famous artists who are hot across the boundaries of art. He is known for his art of fireworks and continues to create thrilling works. He is also a part of promoting cultural awareness: “I hope that because of my participation, I will help this society become more open, more fun, more free and more vivid. This kind of political activity often only focuses on ‘grand’ and ‘greatness’, lacking the moving and romantic freedom, which is important to young people and society as a whole, art can help achieve.”
Cai Guoqiang began to cooperate with the Chinese government since the design of the Shanghai APEC Fireworks Gala in 2001. He reminded himself to think about it from time to time and to match the memory of the country’s creation era.
In 2016, film director Kevin Macdonald produced a special documentary about Cai Guoqiang’s documentary “The Ladder: The Art of Cai Guoqiang” for Netflix. Recently, the MGM Theatre specially broadcast this documentary. Cai Guoqiang also gave an art sharing on the theme of “ladder”. The main line of the film, “The Ladder” – a 500-meter-high golden fireworks ladder slammed into the ground and talked to the innocent universe. This is Cai Guoqiang’s dream of looking up at the sky and picking up the stars in his youth. He has repeatedly tried and lost in different parts of the world for more than 20 years, but he never gave up. At the dawn of June 2015, the seaside of Huiyu Island, a small fishing village in Quanzhou, with the help and witness of domestic technical experts and hundreds of local villagers, he once again took the “ladder” as a gift to his 100-year-old grandmother and his hometown. “The ladder has not been realized in many places such as Los Angeles, the United Kingdom, and Shanghai. Finally, it was realized in a small fishing village in my hometown. This inspires young people. The creation does not necessarily require international cities such as New York and Paris. It can also be in the universe with its own hometown. Dialogue can also create good works that touch the world,” Cai Guoqiang said.
Cai Guoqiang thinks that he is a “careful and serious” person. He said that it is appropriate to be cautious, but doing art is another matter. The art that Cai Guoqiang likes is “out of control”, and gunpowder is the kind of “out of control”. “Many times, the work does not follow our ideas. At this time, you can feel that its life is shining, not designed by people, it is liberated itself, this is the power of freedom.” He explained, showing joy and satisfaction. expression.
He is not worried about someone emulating him: “Everyone can do the art of blasting. First of all, I must ‘explode’ me, don’t be influenced by me. I also hope to blast the senior masters,” he laughed. “The most important thing is to use energy itself as a work of art. The gunpowder itself is energy, just give it to it and let it liberate and speak.”
Cai Wenyou: Doing art different from Dad
On the day of the interview, Cai Guoqiang’s eldest daughter Cai Wenyou’s world’s first photography exhibition, “The Snake’s Chicken, Tiger, and Sheep,” was opened at MGM Cotai. Cai Guoqiang admitted that he did not “preview” his daughter’s exhibition. But I believe that the daughter in the camera is the most real. “I can’t pretend in front of my family, I will always be their joke,” he laughed.
Cai Wenyou, who was born in an art family, always said that she “grew up in an art gallery.” She worked with her father since childhood and recorded the life and work of artist Cai Guoqiang and her family through the lens. The exhibition, headed by the Chinese Zodiac, is in fact a nickname among Cai Wenyou’s family members. “Chicken” is the father Cai Guoqiang, “Tiger” is the mother, “Sheep” is the sister, and “Snake” is Cai Wenyou himself. Cai Wenyou and her family live in different eras and cultural backgrounds, each with a unique and distinct character: “I am a quiet observer. Probably because I was born in Japan, everyone feels that my character is like a Japanese. My sister was born in the United States. She speaks and does things very directly, and she is good at showing herself in front of the camera. My mother’s personality is a bit like her sister. She is active and caring for people. Dad is good at socializing and considers the long-term,” Cai Wenyou said.
Of the 176 works on display, 173 are family and life photos of film works. Between 2006 and 2018, the scene spanned more than 30 countries and regions including China, the United States, and Italy.
Although she started photography at the age of five, Cai Wenyou admits that she has not been good at expressing herself in front of the camera for many years. The sister, who is 13 years younger than Cai Wenyou, is very cheerful and likes to express herself. Cai Wenyou then regarded her sister as her “opposite side” and used the camera to observe the interesting “opposite” between the sisters. This also prompted Cai Wenyou to create the idea of a photography exhibition.
“This exhibition is to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of China and the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Macao Special Administrative Region. I am from a family of Chinese culture, but I live abroad, so there are many collisions between Chinese and Western cultures. Macau is also a place of multiculturalism. It is very similar to my family,” Cai Wenyou said.
The exhibition will end on February 9th, 2020. During the photo exhibition, MGM and the Special brand created by Cai Wenyou will introduce and sell the “Special Special Arts and Entertainment Park” during the first time. It is a fashion item designed by independent artists around the world.
Cai Wenyou, who has been living under the aura of the artist’s father, has written a book, “Can it be art?”, expressing confusion about the life of “Art II”. Today, she is trying to gradually leave the aura of her father Cai Guoqiang, which makes Cai Wenyou and Cai Guoqiang both happy. “She always said, ‘Can’t be artless’, actually wants to be ‘not like the art of daddy’, I think she has done it.” Cai Guoqiang said.