Cai-guo-qiang-gun-powder-front1

Currently on show at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum is a retrospective exhibition for Cai Guo-Qiang, the artist labelled “indispensable to this world” by The New York Times.  Having left his mark on various cities and countries, from Fujian to Shanghai, from China to Japan, and from New York to the world.  This latest retrospect exhibition titled “Hanging Out in the Museum” will be Cai Guo Qiang’s largest retrospective to date since his “I Want To Believe” retropect exhibition, which took place at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2008, as well as the Guggenheim in Bilbao earlier this year.

Hanging out in the Museum” draws together an impressive 35 pieces of work from internationally renowned museums and private collections, including large-scale installations, gunpowder drawings, as well as video documentation of his explosion projects.

Three specially created new pieces will also be on exhibit: titled “Strait”, “Day and Night” and “Taroko Gorge”. Embodying his unique historical and cosmic view, these works address the problems of existence faced by man in contemporary society through artistic forms and clearly illustrate the process of realizing Cai’s artistic ideas.

inopportune_stage_one1

Inopportune: Stage One (2004) at the Solomon R. Guggenheim, New York

Cai-guo-qiang12

Known worldwide for his gunpowder-based works and large-scale installations, Cai became the first Chinese artist to hold a solo exhibition,”I Want to Believe”, at the Guggenheim Museum, New York in 2008. Named among ArtReview’s annual Power 100 four times, Cai Guo-Qiang was born in Quanzhou City, Fujian Province. He speaks Fukienese and is also a follower of the goddess Mazu; for him, coming to Taiwan “feels like coming home.”

As a contemporary artist, Cai Guo-Qiang not only dreams audaciously, he is also strongly effective at realizing his artistic vision. His explosive energy does not stem from gunpowder, but from an unrestrained flow of creative energy, an ability to create social dialogue, and a dogmatic romanticism. This exhibition highlights the artist’s background and development, his creative process, and his insistence on and methods of making art more accessible to the general public. To fully embrace the theme of “hanging out at the museum” and to create opportunities where the public can interact with art, a series of activities and programs, such as the public viewing and volunteer training for the creation of several gunpowder drawings in the exhibition, and related education programs have been initiated. The exhibition also seeks to examine Cai Guo-Qiang’s creations and the zeitgeist in his art, through contemplating the practice of contemporary art, critiquing socio- and geopolitics, and reflecting on Eastern aesthetics and philosophy.

Cai-guo-qiang-head-on

Head On (2006)

This will be Cai’s second collaboration with the Taipei Fine Arts Museum and his first exhibition inside the tall, spacious galleries of the museum. Through the positioning of the installation works in the architectural space, Cai looks back at his works and places them in new contexts, challenging and energizing the museum space in unusual ways. The first floor features a total of seven large-scale installations, while the second floor features gunpowder drawings, video documentation, and timelines.

Cai-guo-qiang-gun-powder1

Fetus Movement II: Project for Extraterrestrials No. 9 (1991)

Take a look at the video below of his earlier “I Want To Believe” retrospect, taken from the Guggenheim in Bilbao  earlier this year in March 2009 for an idea of what you can expect at the “Hanging out in the Museum” exhibition.

[youtube width="600" height="400"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOTJarp9wjE[/youtube]

The retrospective exhibition opened on the 21st of November and will continue through till the 21st of February 2010. So plenty of time for you to plan your visit. This is definitely one you don’t want to miss.  More information at the official website here, Or head over to the Taipei Fine Arts Museum’s website here for a look at some great videos of Cai Guo Qiang’s live Gun-powder art shows.