Cai Guo-Qiang: The Ninth Wave

Cai Guo-Qiang: The Ninth Wave

Power Station of Art

The Ninth Wave sailing on the Huangpu River by the Bund, Shanghai, 2014. Photo: Wen-You Cai. Courtesy Cai Studio.

August 25, 2014

Cai Guo-Qiang: The Ninth Wave
August 8–October 26, 2014

The Shanghai Power Station of Art
200 Huayuangang Road (near Miaojiang Road)
Huangpu District, Shanghai
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 11am–7pm
Exhibition images:


The Power Station of Art (PSA) is proud to present the major solo exhibition Cai Guo-­Qiang: The Ninth Wave  by the New York-based Chinese-born artist. From August 8 to October 26, the exhibition explores pressing environmental and ecological issues, and the imminent challenge they pose to the survival of mankind—as evidenced by the high levels of smog in the air and the incident of 16,000 dead pigs floating down the Huangpu River last year. The artist also references recurring themes in traditional Chinese aesthetics and philosophy: humanity’s longing for a return to a primordial landscape and a spiritual homeland.

PSA’s building, the former Nanshi Power Station, serves as a powerful backdrop for 12 major works in a diverse range of media, some of them taking place in the public realm leading up to the opening, allowing the public to witness various stages of the creative process. The installation work The Ninth Wave—a fishing boat from the artist’s hometown of Quanzhou carrying 99 fabricated animals in various states of decline—sailed along the Huangpu River, past the Bund, on July 17 as art intervention, before ultimately ‘landing’ at PSA’s Great Hall, where it became an indoor installation. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, a suite of four gunpowder drawings on porcelain, was then completed on-site, evoking and renewing the spirit and tradition of Chinese literati ink painting; The Bund Without Us, a monumental 27-meter-long gunpowder drawing that re-imagines the cityscape of Shanghai without people and taken over by nature, was created on July 24 with the help of volunteers from local communities. Finally on August 8, Elegy: Explosion Event for the opening of Cai Guo-Qiang: The Ninth Wave, the artist’s first public large‐scale daytime pyrotechnic display in Mainland China, was realized on the Huangpu River by the museum. Conceived in three chapters—Elegy, Remembrance and Consolation—and lasting eight minutes, the ceremonial explosion event projected an image of nature in decline. In line with the theme of the exhibition, the site‐specific ephemeral work employed environmentally safe food-grade ingredients for the colored smoke pyrotechnic effects.

Other new works include Silent Ink, featuring a 250-square-meter lake excavated out of the gallery floor filled with 20,000 liters of black ink, which creates a serene yet haunting effect; in the former power plant’s 165-meter-tall chimney, three life-like baby dolls sit on a swing that sways back and forth in Air of Heaven. These ambitious works are exhibited alongside other seminal works such as Head On and Birds and Flowers of Brazil, presented in Shanghai for the first time.

The Ninth Wave, one of the artist’s largest solo exhibition in recent years, articulates the artist’s ongoing reflection on the larger natural and physical forces that have shaped our world, and the cultural and social currents that have an impact on humanity.

The exhibition is organized by the Shanghai International Culture Association.

Major support for the exhibition is provided by INFINITI. 
Additional support is provided by Eslite, Deutsche Bank, Shiseido (China), Artron, Lenovo, BALtrans International Special Freight Ltd., and Moleskine.

To learn more about the artist:

The Ninth Wave sets sail
Creation of gunpowder drawing The Bund Without Us
Creation of Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Elegy: Explosion Event for the Opening of Cai Guo-Qiang: The Ninth Wave

International media contact
Maureen Sullivan, Red Art Projects: maureen [​at​]

Cai Guo-Qiang: The Ninth Wave at the Shanghai Power Station of Art
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August 25, 2014

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