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  • Provenance

    Tokyo Gallery, Beijing

  • Catalogue Essay

    Cai Guo-Qiang's famed and acclaimed gunpowder drawings are the by-products of his extensive, explosive perfomances. These are executed with gunpowder and lengths of fuses arranged on specifically made Japanese hemp paper which, when ignited, send lines of fire speeding through the paper like flaming snakes. In the present lot, the mesmerizing result is an abstract, charred landscape, a feathery depiction of pine needles and branches evoking traditional Chinese and Japanese brush painting. Indepted to the American tradition of Land Art, Cai's ephemeral performances are beautifully and evocatively recorded with an honest spotaneity rarely seen in contemporary art. Drawing too on China's political past, his gunpowder works can be interpeted as a reflection on Mao Zedong's famous tenet: 'destroy nothing, creat nothing'.
    "I used the kind of destruction that occurs in gun powder explosions to help me release myself; the accidental outcome of explosions subverts a certain kind of conservative and normative form.Through the accidental nature of explosive projects, the repression and pressure embedded in traditions of a culture are challenged in a groundbreaking manner."
    (Cai Guo-Qiang)

19

Firework Book

1991
Gunpowder drawing on book in presentation case.
29 x 235 cm (11 3/8 x 92 1/2 in).
Signed 'Cai Guo Qiang' in Chinese on the last page; dated '1991' on the reverse.

Estimate
£60,000 - 80,000 

Sold for £121,250

BRIC Theme Sale

23-24 April 2010
London