‘black christmas tree’ by cai guo-qiang
commissioned by arthur m. sackler gallery, smithsonian institution
renowned chinese artist cai guo-qiang has been working with gunpowder and other pyrotechnics since the 1990s. as commentary on the upcoming holiday season, guo-qiang executed three separate explosions of a christmas tree on the north side of the freer gallery of art – the performance entitled ‘black christmas tree’. the smoky pyramid was peppered with blazing splashes as the display took place – mimicking twinkling decorations on a traditional tree and the first ignition only lasting one-and-a-half seconds. the smoke is specifically made of charcoal – making it environmentally-friendly – with the tree still alive post-detonation and was then replanted elsewhere.
video showing the explosive performance
video courtesy smithsonian mag