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Art

Murmuration: 10,000 Porcelain Birds Create a Calligraphic Landscape at the National Gallery of Victoria

May 24, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

All images courtesy of National Gallery of Victoria

As part of a new large-scale exhibit at Australia’s National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang (previously) has created a swarm of 10,000 porcelain birds, titled Murmuration (Landscape). The multi-part winter exhibition at the museum combines Cai’s contemporary work with the display of a selection of China’s famed ancient terracotta warriors. Cai, who is best known for his enormous artworks that utilize fireworks, assembled the vast quantity of birds and smudged them black with gunpowder. The installation fills an entire gallery and the birds are suspended to create a 3D impression of a calligraphic drawing of Mount Li, where the tomb of the ancient warriors was located. Terracotta Warriors and Cai Guo-Qiang opens to the public today and is on view through October 13, 2019. Watch a time-lapse of the labor-intensive installation here and explore more of the artist’s diverse works on Instagram.

Photo: Tobias Titz

 

 



Art

A Pyrotechnic Artwork by Cai Guo-Qiang Explodes into a Blossom on the Steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

August 5, 2015

Kate Sierzputowski

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images via chrisstorb

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In 2009, Cai Guo-Qiang was commissioned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art to create a site-specific explosion event on the front facade of the museum. The project, titled Fallen Blossomsused a gunpowder fuse, metal net, and scaffolding to activate a blossom pattern for 60 seconds, temporarily setting the columns of the building ablaze.

The fuse for the flower was lit on December 11 at sunset for a large audience. The title for the event and corresponding exhibition is derived from a classical Chinese proverb “hua kai hua luo” which comments on the extreme loss felt when a life is ended unexpectedly. The title and event were also meant as a tribute to the Museum’s late director, Anne d’Harnoncourt.

Cai currently lives and works in New York, but was born and trained in stage design in China. Not limited to one medium, Cai works in installation, drawing, performance and video art. During his 9-year stay in Japan he explored the use of gunpowder in his work which eventually led to his large scale explosion events. Cai was notably the Director of Visual and Special Effects for both the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. (via cerceos)