March 9, 2009 - Guggenheim Bilbao - I Want to Believe: Cai Guo-Qiang
March 9, 2009

I Want to Believe: Cai Guo-Qiang

Cai Guo-Qiang
Footprints of History: Fireworks Project for the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games 2008
Realized in Beijing, August 8, 2008
Commissioned by The International Olympic Committee and The
Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad
Photo by Hiro Ihara, courtesy Cai Studio

Cai Guo-Qiang
I Want to Believe

March 17 – September 6

Alexandra Munroe and Thomas Krens

Avenida Abandoibarra,

48001 Bilbao


Sponsor: BBVA

• Conceived as a spectacular site-specific installation in Frank Gehry’s groundbreaking building, the exhibition explores Cai’s creative universe that features such new art forms as gunpowder drawings, outdoor explosion events, large-scale installations, and social projects.

• A rich presentation of Cai Guo-Qiang’s aesthetic iconography which is inspired by ancient mythology, military history, Taoist and Buddhist philosophy, cosmological science, pyrotechnic technology, Chinese medicine, and contemporary global conflict.

• In Bilbao this retrospective exhibition includes one of his most spectacular installations, Inopportune: Stage One, 2004 which presents eight cars suspended in mid-air, filling the space of the Atrium, the cars are arranged in a circular sequence and pierced with blinking light rods.

From March 17 to September 6, 2009, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao presents Cai Guo-Qiang: I Want To Believe, an exhibition sponsored by BBVA that presents the full spectrum of the artist’s multimedia art in all its conceptual complexity.

The exhibition comes to Bilbao after its success at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, where it became the most visited visual art show in the Museum’s history and at the National Art Museum of China in Beijing, where it was part of the cultural program for the 2008 Olympic Games. Cai Guo-Qiang is internationally recognized as an artist, curator, and creator of large-scale explosion events, who has been active in exhibitions, biennales, and public celebrations around the world for the last twenty years. This comprehensive retrospective is the Guggenheim Museums first solo show devoted to a Chinese-born artist.

Co-curated by Thomas Krens, Senior Advisor for Global Affairs, and Alexandra Munroe, Senior Curator of Asian Art at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Cai Guo-Qiang: I Want to Believe was conceived in close cooperation with the artist as a spectacular site-specific installation within the iconic architecture of Frank Gehry’s building in Bilbao. Occupying the second floor and the Museum Atrium, the exhibition charts the artist’s creation of a distinctive visual and conceptual language across four mediums: gunpowder drawings; explosion events; installations; and social projects. With some 50 works from the 1980s to the present—selected from major public and private collections in the U.S., Europe, and Asia—the exhibition examines Cai’s significant formal and conceptual contributions to contemporary international art and establishes his influence as a cultural producer of socially provocative artworks for large audiences. “Cai Guo-Qiang has literally exploded the accepted parameters of art making in our time,” said Thomas Krens. “He draws freely from ancient mythology, military history, Taoist cosmology, Maoist revolutionary tactics, Buddhist philosophy, pyrotechnic technology, Chinese medicine, and contemporary global conflict.”

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

Guggenheim Bilbao
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