Artist Sends Ladder of Fire into the Sky

August 13, 2015  |   World
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Sky Ladder,” a pyrotechnic artwork by Cai Guoqiang.

Off the shore of huiyu island — a small and picturesque fishing village the chinese city of quanzhou — artist Cai Guo-Qiang has realized the explosion event ‘sky ladder’ in his hometown, a project he has attempted three times over the past 21 years. Finally completed in Quanzhou, ‘sky ladder’ was offered as a gift for the artist’s 100-year old grandmother, his parents, family, and hometown.
Off the shore of huiyu island — a small and picturesque fishing village the chinese city of quanzhou — artist Cai Guo-Qiang has realized the explosion event ‘sky ladder’ in his hometown, a project he has attempted three times over the past 21 years. Finally completed in Quanzhou, ‘sky ladder’ was offered as a gift for the artist’s 100-year old grandmother, his parents, family, and hometown.
Cai Guo-qiang filled a gigantic white balloon with 6,200 cubic meters of heliu.
Cai Guo-qiang filled a gigantic white balloon with 6,200 cubic meters of heliu.

Born in 1957 in Quanzhou City, Fujian Province, China, Cai moved to Shanghai in 1981 to study theater design at the Shanghai Theatre Academy. After spending nearly a decade in Tokyo (1986-95) he moved to New York City where he currently lives and works. At the close of his studies in 1985, Cai began experimenting with gunpowder. The resulting works, which he has described as “unpredictable splendor,” combined his interest in chance and the physically as well as culturally charged material. Small, more personal explosions gave way to monumental events that garnered the energy and workforce of the community. Each project is site specific, calling upon the cultural and geographical history of the chosen place to inform the work.

"Sky Ladder" lasted a total of 150 seconds, before finally dimming from the bottom up.
“Sky Ladder” lasted a total of 150 seconds, before finally dimming from the bottom up.


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