His remarkable firework displays have made him one of China's internationally best-known artists. Now, Cai Guo-Qiang has received the Hiroshima Art Prize. To celebrate this, the Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art is giving him a major solo exhibition for which the New York-based art star will be creating new site-specific installations and a firework performance. Since 1989, the Hiroshima Art Prize is awarded every three years in the Japanese harbor city that was completely destroyed by the first atomic bomb. The award was created to distinguish international artists who have made a contribution to world peace. Some of the past prizewinners have been Robert Rauschenberg, Shirin Neshat, and the architect Daniel Libeskind.
Back in 1994, Cai Guo-Qiang, who was born in 1957, showed an installation in Hiroshima titled The Earth Has Its Black Hole Too: Project for Extraterrestrials No. 16; the work investigated the destruction and rebirth of the city. Cai's series The Century with Mushroom Clouds: Project for the 20th Century (1996) continues the artist's examination of the dropping of the atomic bomb. Early in the year, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum put on the biggest retrospective to date: Cai Guo-Qiang: I Want to Believe. The New York Museum presented some of his most important installations, among them Head On, which consists of 99 life-sized wolves storming a glass wall in a high arc. The installation of the pack of wild animals was made in 2006 as a commission for the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin. This summer, hundreds of millions of television viewers saw Cai's spectacular displays: as the Director of Visual and Special Effects, he designed the fireworks for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Peking.
The 7th Hiroshima Art Prize
October 25, 2008 - January 12, 2009
Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art