Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang is known for his aesthetically exquisite choreographed explosions. Yet for an artist so concerned with destruction, Cai's work is surprisingly tranquil. Through his "gunpowder drawings", he creates a spiritual experience that provides a single moment of beauty as the culmination of years of buildup.
Art.sy captured a behind the scenes look at Cai Guo-Qiang's process through the exhibition "Sky Ladder", which is on view at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. The film is directed by Antony Crook and produced by Marina Cashdan with music by Shervin Shaeri.
Like Cai's work itself, the short film begins with a bang. Then the documentary proceeds to give an intimate look at the artist's philosophy and the complicated process of using gunpowder as a medium. The artist's large-scale drawings are made by a series of sketches, which are then cut into stencils. Afterwards, gunpowder is applied and the piece is ignited. The moment of explosion is the fantastic conclusion to millions of years of minerals evolving; this meeting of past and present is a key aspect of Cai's work.
The artist explains the gravity of his project in the video: "Using gunpowder as a medium brings me closer to nature... and even the universe." The film is ripe with beautiful insights from the artist, his explanations turning destruction into poetry.
Let us know your thoughts about the work in the comments section below.