About Cai Guo-Qiang


Cai Guo-Qiang was born in 1957 in Quanzhou, China. In 1986 he moved to Japan and began working with gunpowder, which led to the development of his unique outdoor-explosion events. His works include drawings, installations, video and performance art. He has been living and working in New York since 1995.

Having grown up in the port of Quanzhou, which was once known as the largest harbour in the world, Cai has always been fascinated by boats. Included in many of his works, boats can be seen as cultural vessels that link people and places. They enable cultural exchange, in particular between Asia and the West. For Cai, the boat can also be regarded as a spacecraft, linking the earth to the universe-thus, making it a symbol for crossing national boundaries, time zones, mentalities, and galaxies. 

For the inaugural exhibition at Foruschou Foundation, 'A Clan of Boats', Cai Gou-Qiang used his signature explosive expression and reference to the sea. On the day of the opening, Cai ignited thousands of mini rockets from the small traditional Danish boat 'Freja', in front of an enthusiastic crowd from all over Denmark and beyond. The scorch marks from the explosion transformed the boat into a three-dimensional gunpowder drawing, which subsequently became a part of the exhibition. These new additions for the art exhibition 'A clan of boats' generated dialogue with the famed work Reflection-A Gift from Iwaki (2004), which is part of the Faurschou collection. 

The artworks of Cai Gou-Qiang are significant pieces in the Faurschou Foundation art collection and have been exhibited for an appreciative crowd in Copenhagen. For the exhibition 'I look at things…' (2014), Faurschou Foundation drew on the expression of artists from both west and east, combining and creating a dialogue between different cultures and different artistic practices. On this occasion, Cai Guo-Qiang’s work, 'A Boat with Dreams' (2008), was floating from the ceiling of the exhibition space. This artwork, also part of the Faurschou Foundation’s art collection, is one of his more poetic expressions: a small wooden boat full to the brim with glowing red paper lanterns shaped like rockets, cars, stars and other objects from his memory.  

Cai Guo-Qiang's website

Cai Guo-Qiang's blog

See other works by Cai Guo-Qiang