April 28, 2010 - Rockbund Art Museum - Cai Guo-Qiang at Shanghai’s new Rockbund Art Museum during World Expo
April 28, 2010

Cai Guo-Qiang at Shanghai’s new Rockbund Art Museum during World Expo

Xiong Tianhua
Airplane, after its first test run, 2008
Photo by Li Zilong

Cai Guo-Qiang: Peasant Da Vincis
Inaugural Exhibition For Rockbund Art Museum

4 May – 25 July 2010

Coincides with World Expo
Rockbund Art Museum
20 Huqiu Road, Huangpu District
Shanghai, 200002
Tel: +86 21-3310 9985
Fax: +86 21-6321 3352
info [​at​] rockbundartmuseum.org



“Cai Guo-Qiang: Peasant da Vincis” features ambitious inventions by Chinese peasants—including homemade flying machines, submarines, and robots — exploring the subject of human creativity, the unquenchable universal desire to innovate and dream, and the influence of nature, society, politics, and other cultural factors on invention. Cai Guo-Qiang, serving as collector and artist in collaboration with creators from rural communities throughout China, curates the inaugural exhibition for the Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai – opening May 4 through July 25, 2010. Architect David Chipperfield redesigned the interior to create a contemporary art museum in the historic building that housed one of the first museums in China. The exhibition coincides with the opening of the World Expo Shanghai and examines its theme “Better City, Better Life” and the modernization of China from the countryʼs own “peasant da Vincis.” The exhibition extends Cai Guo-Qiangʼs cross-disciplinary practice and his fascination with concepts of experimentation, risk, failure, and the human relationship to the universe and attempts to showcase individualʼs passion, courage, and risk-taking inherent in innovation.

Visitors will be beckoned to the museum by a glowing UFO spinning on the roof, and the six floors of the museum will be transformed by surreal large-scale installations of peasant–built planes, submarines, robots; documentary interviews with their creators and a chronology of peasant inventions from the past forty years; and early Soviet space expeditions films recounting the courage and personal sacrifices behind the heroic pomp and fanfare. The exhibition will be further activated by in situ construction of an aircraft carrier and an active robot production garage including robots that replicate the iconic performative actions of artists Jackson Pollock, Yves Klein, and Damien Hirst. Extending the spirit of the exhibition outside the museum, slogans by Cai Guo-Qiang: “Never learned how to land,” “Whatʼs important isnʼt whether you can fly,” and “Peasants – making a better city, a better life,” will be painted in giant Chinese characters on the exterior of the Museum and surrounding buildings, and screened on sixteen floor-tall outdoor video screen at the Aurora Plaza – the largest in the world.

A bi-lingual exhibition catalogue will be accompanied by a second book in Chinese based on Cai’s conversations with the peasant creators. A feature-length documentary film, screened in the museum, chronicles the process of making the exhibition. International Seminar, May 4: Interdisciplinary discussions on the history of human invention, the progress of modernization in China, the relationship between technology and art, the new role of museums. Participants include: Fan Di-an, Thomas Krens, David Ross, Nakahara Yusuke, Fumio Nanjo, Li Lei, Yang Chao, Hérve Chandès, Germano Celant ,Lu Yuegang, Zhang Ming. See www.rockbundartmuseum.org for more information, registration and additional educational events.

Cai Guo-Qiang is renowned worldwide for large-scale explosion projects and installations, including the Beijing Summer Olympics in 2008, a touring retrospective organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and curating China’s first official pavilion in the Venice Biennale’s 110-year history, where he was awarded the Golden Lion at the 48th Venice Biennale in 1999. He has lived in New York since 1995.

The only contemporary art museum in the historic riverfront area known as the Bund, opens on May 4, 2010, under the direction of Lai Hsiangling, former Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei. The Rockbund Art Museum provides an international platform for the promotion and exchange of contemporary art through exhibitions and educational programmes that aim to stimulate discussion on topical and social issues in contemporary society.

EXHIBITION PRESENTERS: Rockbund Art Museum, with assistance from the Center for International Cultural Exchange (CICE), Ministry of Culture, P.R.C.

Maureen Sullivan for Cai Studio, New York
+1 917.846.4477

The Beauty of Distance: The Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age
17th Biennale of Sydney, Australia
May 12–August 1, 2010

Cai Guo-Qiang: Travels in the Mediterranean
Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Nice, France
June 12, 2010–January 9, 2011

XIV Biennale Internazionale di Scultura di Carrara, Italy
June 26–October 31, 2010

Rockbund Art Museum

Rockbund Art Museum
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