cai guo qiang: inopportune cai guo qiang: inopportune
jun 09, 2010

cai guo qiang: inopportune

‘inopportune: stage one’, 2004 (detail) image © designboom

chinese artist cai guo-qiang has a history of making works of beauty from violent beginnings; most famously using gunpowder, fireworks and explosions in his sculptural installations.

currently on show as part of the 17th biennale of sydney is cai’s ‘inopportune: stage one’ (2004), one of his most challenge and spectacular presentations. the installation is comprised of nine identical white cars, which appear to be arrested in an animated sequence of explosion. together the vehicles are frozen in an arc of detonation, blast, launch, tumbling, gravitational return and rest. the cars are pierced with pulsing rods of light that simultaneously suspend the cars like wings, penetrating them like blades, signifying a co-existence between violence and beauty.

installation view of cai guo-qiang’s ‘inopportune: stage one’, 2004 at the biennale of sydney image © designboom

point of detonation… image © designboom

pulsing rods of light pierce the suspended cars image © designboom

a vehicle launching into the air… image © designboom

worm’s-eye view of the installation image © designboom

the frozen arc of vehicles image © designboom

sequence of tumbling… image © designboom

vehicle hanging almost perpindiculara to the ground image © designboom

launching and gravitational return occuring image © designboom

overturned vehicle image © designboom

overview of sequence image © designboom

image © designboom

‘inopportune: stage one’, 2004 image © designboom

gravitational return to resting image © designboom

view of installation from point of detonation image © designboom

nine identical white cars make up the entire installation image © designboom

cai guo-qiang was born in quanzhou city, fujian province, china in 1957. he was trained in stage design at the shanghai drama institute, and since then, his work has often been scholarly and / or politically charged. in 1999, he was awarded the golden lion at the 48th venice biennale. he currently lives and works in new york.

  • boooring. a lot of space used to make a visual one liner.

    snif says:
  • For those who saw cgq’s mid-career retrospective at the Guggenheim in which this was the centerpiece hanging from the rotunda, what was apparent was the awesome power evoked by the upended vehicles. Though the strands of light apparently emanating from the cars were rather cartoonish–not at all like “blades” or “wings”, they could not take away from the feeling of anticipation. I wonder what a collaboration on this project with Jean Tinguely would have looked like!

    mr pink says:
  • wow…i liked a lot….

    luisefe says:
  • No! Modern American art is bullshit, that’s a sheer production to order piece and the minimalism is unevenly contrasted by the sheer vastness of the subject matter and sets an undertone of flexing the availability of American resources. In other words by taking a common American privilege(a car) this piece’s message is clouded by the artist and losing the ability to move past common American consumerism and expenditure of wealthy Country’s privileges. I am an American and it makes me sick to see artists using ready made objects to the extreme like this hanging car motif, being an artist is just as much your idea as well as the production of the physical state of your idea. This is like if a chef wanted to make a gourmet meal for the masses and microwaved three hundred microwavable pizzas pizzas. Yea its food, he had the idea to create it this way, however food that a true chef would make is 100% him and made from scratch. The same thing can be said for using ready made objects in art. The title “artist” has begun to lose meaning and the everyday American who parks a car diagonal in a space is an American modern artist.

    CoreyNP12 says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

comments policy
LOG IN
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

PRODUCT LIBRARY

a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

art news