CAI GUOQIANG (B. 1957)
PROPERTY SOLD FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE ASIAN CULTURAL COUNCIL
CAI GUO-QIANG (B. 1957)

Peony and Dahlia No. 2

Details
CAI GUO-QIANG (B. 1957)
Peony and Dahlia No. 2
titled 'Peony and Dahlia No. 2', titled and signed in Chinese, signed, dated, and inscribed 'Cai Guo-Qiang 2017. PRADO' (lower right)
gunpowder on canvas
183 x 152.5 cm. (72 x 60 in.)
Executed in 2017
Provenance
Donated by the artist on behalf of the Asian Cultural Council
Exhibited
Madrid, Spain, Museo Nacional del Prado, The Spirit of Painting. Cai Guo-Qiang at the Prado, October 2017 - March 2018

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Jacky Ho (何善衡)
Jacky Ho (何善衡) Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

Cai Guo-Qiang arrived in New York in 1995 for his year-long ACC Fellowship. Cai, who had been living and working in Japan for a number of years, was selected to join the PS1 International Studio Program. Known today for his stirring gunpowder drawings and electrifying explosion events, Cai had already begun to experiment with gunpowder early in his artistic career. Exploring an art form whose explosive possibilities were restricted within the New York metropolis, Cai sought the larger canvas of the American West. “I wanted to go to the Nevada Nuclear Test Site,” Cai recalled “[ACC] managed to get three permits, one from the FBI, one from the Department of Energy, and one from the Department of Defence.” Flanked by an assistant, videographer, and cameraman, armed with gunpowder from dismantled Chinese firecrackers, Cai made his first work in the U.S., a miniature mushroom cloud that would pave the way for future gunpowder paintings and explosion events.

Peony and Dahlia No.2, a gunpowder on canvas work, is a stunning example of the evolution of Cai’s artistic expression. It was created on-site for his solo exhibition at the Prado in 2017. “This work,” he explained, “is the first coloured gunpowder of mine to be auctioned. Before, my gunpowder paintings were mostly black and white. I started working more with colour gunpowder, which comes from daytime fireworks in 2016. Somehow this use of colour gunpowder goes well with one project I’ve been undergoing, which is my personal journey through Western art history.”

Beyond talent and leadership in their field, ACC selects individuals for its grants who show significant potential to engage with the places where they undertake their fellowships. With a commitment to fostering cross-cultural connections and a keen insight into the international arts landscape, Cai has been a longstanding philanthropic partner to ACC, generously donating to support the next generation of artists and arts professionals from China.
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