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Cai Guo-Qiang,1957–, Chinese painter and a sculptor especially known for using gunpowder as a medium and explosions and fireworks as means of artistic expression, b. Quanzhou, Fujian prov., studied stage design (1981–85) Shanghai Theater Academy. From 1986 to 1995 he lived in Japan, then settled in New York City. While in Shanghai he was part of a generation of Chinese experimental artists. In Japan and since then, Cai has used gunpowder both as a drawing medium, often mixing it with paint, and in performance art explosion pieces, which are frequently recorded as videos. In the United States he added dramatic large-scale, site-specific installations to his repertoire. Cai's pieces reflect his desire to mix science and art, and often illustrate his theory of creative destruction. His work frequently has a social component, as in the shanty, similar to those built by the Tiananmen SquareTiananmen Square,
large public square in Beijing, China, on the southern edge of the Inner or Tatar City. The square, named for its Gate of Heavenly Peace (Tiananmen), contains the monument to the heroes of the revolution, the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum of
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See D. Hansen et al., Cai Guo-Qiang (2002); K. Macdonald, dir., Sky Ladder (documentary, 2016).
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