christmas tree explosion by cai guo qiang
christmas tree explosion by cai guo qiang
dec 20, 2012

christmas tree explosion by cai guo qiang

‘black christmas tree’ by cai guo-qiangcommissioned 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.

 christmas tree explosion by cai guo qiang


christmas tree explosion by cai guo qiang



christmas tree explosion by cai guo qiang


video showing the explosive performancevideo courtesy smithsonian mag


  • I have just chose this video to share next christmas for its poetry. Those smoke trees coming out the real one. So transient and ephemeral as the shortest dance. The foggy dance of a tree shape. Love it.

  • I love the work or the artist, mostly all of it, but this?….it´s one of the more stupid things I´ve ever seen, there´s no explanation or comment that can save it.

  • Nothing wrong with the the concept, but Christ, was it poorly executed.

  • And the purpose of this ? It was not fun and it was not funny.

    nelsondreyes architect
  • That was impressive

  • that was really not that impressive…

  • It’s so… …sad.

  • whippy dip…… artsy fartsy
    so what
    technique is more important….. no art here

  • Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Iran, mass shootings in the US…we need this like we need a hole in the head.

    Dr Design

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