yesterday, contemporary artist cai guo qiang ignited a daytime explosion event dubbed city of flowers in the sky on piazzale michelangelo, overlooking the city of florence. inspired by botticelli’s renaissance masterpiece ‘primavera’, the event — that lasted about ten minutes — used the sunlit sky as a canvas. during the spectacle, 50,000 customized fabricated fireworks shot out smokes resembling thousands of flowers to celebrate the opening of the artist’s solo exhibition flora commedia: cai guo qiang at the uffizi.


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city of flowers in the sky by cai guo qiang started by suddenly filling the sky of florence with the roar of rolling ‘thunder’, followed by a rush of violent, thrashing silver flashes and smoke colorful columns, as though ‘god of the west wind and goddess of the land’ were playfully resisting the temptation of the opposite sex, and finally merged into one harmony with the birth of flora. after that, an upsurge of multicolor explosions covered the sky hundreds of meters above. the colorful smoke spurted, and a large sheet of white cascading fireworks drifted gently downwards, 150 meters above the viewers. black, white and red smoke weaved and tumbled to give way to the apparition of ‘venus’, where large streaks of pure, white willow fireworks drifted downwards, interwoven with hints of pink and yellow. immediately after followed the ‘spiritual garden’, rendered by shooting smoke that resembled blossoms in white and black. for the finale, lusters of the city’s symbol ‘lily’, covered into a magnificent red cloud.

cai guo qiang lights florence's sky with 50,000 fireworks that resemble flowers designboom
image by claudio giovannini, cge
all images courtesy of la repubblica



the firework event saw the artist create a 24 meter color gunpowder artwork on handmade hemp paper in an attempt to evince the ambiance and framework of the daytime firework in the gunpowder drawing, which in turn became the finale of the ten rooms of the solo exhibition flora commedia on view at the uffizi in florence.

cai guo qiang lights florence's sky with 50,000 fireworks that resemble flowers designboom
image by stefano rovai 
all images courtesy of la repubblica



‘time and space spiral into chaos at the moment of explosion,’ said cai guo giang. ‘the past interlaces with the present; spectators will feel the intensity behind the meaning of space-time, and forge connection with cosmic eternity and invisible energy. the uffizi’s sumptuous collection seems to overflow from its ancient architecture, merging into one with the city that nourishes her. viewers from florence and around the world can see the waves of flowers and greenery tumbling into the clear sky from all corners of the city, even the nearby countryside. they experience together the awe and warmth of the spirit of renaissance painting as it reappears in the modern day.’

cai guo qiang lights florence's sky with 50,000 fireworks that resemble flowers designboom
image by claudio giovannini, cge
all images courtesy of la repubblica

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