Cai Guo-Qiang was born in 1957 in Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China.
Cai Guo-Qiang received a BFA in stage design from the Shanghai Drama Institute in 1985. He resided in Japan from 1986 to 1995, after which he moved to New York, where he has lived and worked ever since. In 1984 Cai first began experimenting with gunpowder and in 1989 staged the first of his public explosion events, which would become integral to his practice. He utilizes gunpowder’s charged identification with China, where it was invented, to create allegorical, sociopolitical commentaries that riff on saltpetre’s (potassium nitrate) associations with ancient medicine, ritual fireworks, and modern violence. By using explosives as pyrotechnical events outdoors or as a medium on paper, Cai recasts a quintessential Chinese material that takes the form of “burned paintings” carefully manipulated and conducted in their execution. In his varied practices and materials, Cai draws freely from ancient mythology, military history, Taoist cosmology, Maoist revolutionary tactics, Buddhist philosophy, pyrotechnic technology, Chinese medicine, and images of terrorist violence. Cai’s elaborate symbolism coded a metaphysics that would operate in his work over decades, where disaster and renewal, sickness and healing, and art and war are all revealed as part of the same unstable system.
Etel Adnan Ai Weiwei Leila Alaoui Juan Araujo Kader Attia Daniel Buren Cai Guo-Qiang Alejandro Campins Iván Capote Yoan Capote Loris Cecchini Elizabet Cerviño Chen Zhen Nikhil Chopra Marcelo Cidade Jonathas De Andrade Berlinde De Bruyckere Leandro Erlich Carlos Garaicoa Osvaldo González Antony Gormley Gu Dexin Shilpa Gupta Subodh Gupta Carsten Höller JR Ilya & Emilia Kabakov Zhanna Kadyrova Kan Xuan Anish Kapoor André Komatsu Jannis Kounellis Luis López-Chávez Jorge Macchi Ahmed Mater Cildo Meireles José Manuel Mesías Sabrina Mezzaqui Margherita Morgantin Moataz Nasr Hans Op de Beeck Ornaghi & Prestinari Giovanni Ozzola Susana Pilar Michelangelo Pistoletto Kiwon Park Qiu Zhijie Arcangelo Sassolino Manuela Sedmach Serse Kiki Smith Nedko Solakov Marta Spagnoli José Antonio Suárez Londoño Hiroshi Sugimoto Sun Yuan & Peng Yu Pascale Marthine Tayou Armando Testa Nari Ward Sophie Whettnall Sislej Xhafa José Yaque Zhuang Hui