‘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