“Cai Guo-Qiang”

Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery announces reopening

The University of Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery has announced the date of their reopening scheduled for 14 February 2015. The 125-year-old gallery has been shut for just over a year as part of a £15 million redevelopment which has involved the construction of two new wings. The artist Cornelia Parker has been commissioned to create an artwork for the museum with Nobel Prize winning scientist, Kostya Novoselov, out of tiny fragments of graphite. The fragments will be turned into graphene (the thinnest material in the world), which will then be made into a humidity sensor. On the night of the opening, Novoselov is to breathe into the sensor and trigger a spectacular firework display. The gallery houses works by artists such as Francis Bacon, Blake, Turner, Bridget Riley, Richard Hamilton and William Morris as well as 2013 Turner Prize winner Laure Prouvost. The newly-built landscape gallery will feature a 45-meter-long installation by Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang, based on gunpowder....

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Aspen Art Museum removes controversial tortoises

After considerable controversy, Aspen Art Museum has removed the three tortoises that featured in an exhibition by Cai Guo-Qiang. The contentious tortoises were part of the Chinese artist’s exhibition, Moving Ghost Town, in which they were employed to roam around with iPads — which weigh approximately 0.65kg each — strapped to their backs in a contained outdoor pen. Despite the museum working closely with the Turtle Conservancy and assuring critics that the tortoises’ health was constantly monitored, a petition to rescue the tortoises, from what many deemed to be a cruel exploitation, amassed 18,000 signatures.  The exhibition, which was originally intended to run until 5 October, cites “safety concerns” as the reason for the early departure of the roaming reptiles, as predicted cold and wet weather could be dangerous for their health. Those concerned about the future of the tortoises can be reassured by the fact that they were relocated on 25 August to a Turtle Conservancy-approved shelter. In a statement on the museum’s website, the AAM board of trustees said: “It has also been the AAM’s ongoing position that if at any time during the course of Moving Ghost Town it was ever deemed that […] the well-being of the tortoises could not be absolutely assured, they would be removed immediately from the exhibition. We want to again make it very clear that we would never harm or abuse animals, or place any living thing in danger or harm’s...

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Record audience for Cai Guo-Qiang exhibition at Power Station

Cai Guo-Qiang’s exhibition at Power Station, Shanghai, has beaten all audience records for the gallery since its opening in July, with more than 20,000 visitors to the show. The piece to which the artist owes his success is The Ninth Wave, a work inspired by a 19th-century Russian painting which shows a modern Noah’s Ark laden with sickly animals. The citizens of Shanghai have seen their own country’s recent history reflected in the installation; last year the carcasses of 16,000 animals were swept down the length of the river, the result of the disastrous state of the environment in China. One visitor told NPR: ““I feel Cai Guo-Qiang is trying to show that the survival of animals in the natural environment is like our own survival. When we run into difficult situations, we all become very helpless.” Cai Guo-Qiang intended for the boat to sail down the Huangpu river, but the artist was unable to find the necessary authorisation and the boat was towed along by a barge. Amongst other works in the exhibition is Head on, in which a dozen wolves are suspended in a large room and crash into a glass wall. The politically-minded installation evokes the dangers of ideologies and pack mentality. The exhibition is on display until 26 October 2014....

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Tortoises depict history at Aspen Art Museum

Aspen Art Museum in Colorado, is currently exhibiting “Moving Ghost Town” by conceptual artist Cai Guo-Qiang, from 9 August to 5 October 2014.  The exhibition is comprised of three African Sulcata Tortoises — named Big Bertha, Gracie Pink Star, and Whale Wanderer —, who roam in a natural turf environment, with iPads mounted to their backs. The iPads display footage of three deserted local towns, which has been filmed by the tortoises themselves.   Rescued from an over-crowded breeding enclosure, the tortoises are continuously monitored by a local vet, and the exhibition has been created in collaboration with the Turtle Conservancy who, when the exhibition closes, will find the tortoises new homes in educational and conservational facilities.   With a foundation in Eastern philosophy and contemporary social issues, the exhibition offers the viewer insight into these ghost towns through the tortoises’ perspective, in a “site-specific approach to culture and...

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Cai Guo-Qiang unveils his Noah’s Ark at the Power Station of Art

On 8 August 2014, the artist Cai Guo-Qiang launched his new solo show “The Ninth Wave” at the Power Station of Art, Shanghai, with an unusual take on Noah’s Ark. The Ninth Wave is a barge carrying 99 animals stuffed into various positions of sickness that set sail in the artist’s native town of Quanzhou, Shanghai. “I wanted to focus on environmental issues, which are more and more critical in China,” Cai Guo-Qiang told The Art Newspaper. The exhibition is comprised of 11 works which, for the most part, were created especially for the show. One such work, Silent Ink, involves a 250m2 lake installed in the museum’s floor and is filled with 20,000 litres of black ink, transforming the space into a ghostly vision of a traditional landscape. The exhibition is open until 26 October 2014....

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