Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang challenges the confines of the art world with boundary pushing questions that materialize as blazing temporary art that leave behind seeds of dreaming in waking moments of colorful smoke. He is best-known to the general public for the spectacular fireworks show during the 2008 Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony. In the contemporary art world, his explosive works gunpowder works are memorable, as massive gunpowder laced sculptures ignite and flicker as if they were the pulse of his imagination burning free.
On June 15, 2015 Guo-Qiang’s piece, Sky Ladder became the largest single installation ever commissioned. A huge white balloon filled with 6,200 cubic meters of helium was attached to a 500-meter long ladder coated completely with quick burning fuses and gold fireworks. As it ascended into the heavens above Huiyu Island Harbor, in Quanzhou, China, it burned brightly into the early morning for 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
This was Guo-Qiang’s fourth attempt to realize the performance. Previous attempts in Bath (1994), Shanghai (2001), and in Los Angeles (2012), were stymied.
Netflix has released a documentary film detailing Guo-Qiang’s ground breaking artistic efforts to symbolically connect the earth to the universe with Sky Ladder; all captured by Oscar-winning filmmaker Kevin Macdonald (One Day In September, The Last King Of Scotland). Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang takes you behind the scenes of the largest single installation ever commissioned.
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