Cai Guo-Qiang likes to ignite things.
His pyrotechnic artistic technics are memorable for the impressions that come after the loud bangs, leaving nothing but darkened images that drift off into the wind. The shadows may phase out, but these outlines of the once existing things create palpable discussions that continue well after his installations have been set off.
On June 15, his latest piece titled Sky Ladder, (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) ascended into the sky above Huiyu Island Harbor, Quanzhou, China, burning brightly into the early morning for 2 minutes and 30 seconds
This was Guo-Qiang’s fourth attempt to realize the performance. Previous Sky Ladder’s had been attempted in Bath (1994), Shanghai (2001), and in Los Angeles (2012), to varying degrees of success, none had fully realized his vision until now.
“Behind Sky Ladder lies a clear childhood dream of mine. Despite all life’s twists and turns, I have always been determined to realize it. My earlier proposals were either more abstract or ceremonial. Sky Ladder today is tender and touches my heart deeply: it carries affection for my hometown, my relatives, and my friends. In contrast to my other attempts, which set the ignition time at dusk, this time the ladder rose toward the morning sun, carrying hope. For me, this not only means a return but also the start of a new journey.”
All photos by Lin Yi and Wen-You Cai courtesy Cai Studio. (via Booooooom)