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Label: sky ladder

Friday 02nd December 2016Artist Spotlight Redux: Sky Ladder

 
In the past, we wrote an Artist Spotlight about Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang, and a relatively strange installation piece he had created involving tortoises. In today's follow up we're going to look at a specific project that he created, and the Netflix documentary that goes along with it of the same name: Sky Ladder.
 
 
Aside from playing around with tortoises, which actually sounds like it might be kind of fun regardless of its relative artistic merit, Cai Guo-Qiang has had an extraordinary career in many other non-traditional media - namely in fireworks, coloured smoke and flame. Tortoises are great and all, but pyrotechnics must be a lot more fun, and Cai Guo-Qiang gained an incredible amount of fame for devising the pyrotechnic displays at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

In 2014, he took his pyrotechnic effects to a new level using coloured smokes and incredibly carefully designed forms and was able to create a stunning range of effects, painting in the sky with smoke and flame. This eventually led to the development of his lifelong project, which has been chronicled in the documentary of the same name.

Produced by Kevin MacDonald and Wendi Deng Murdoch, Sky Ladder tells the story behind his life-long project that took a while to develop into a concept, and even longer into a feasible and performable project. There were many false starts before it was finally properly performed, but the final piece grows into a rather titanic scale that manages to look beautiful too - even though it's a touch more conceptual than the rest of his pyrotechnic work.

As Cai Guo-Qiang explains the project, it sounds like something the world could use more of:
Behind Sky Ladder lies a clear childhood dream of mine. Despite all life’s twists and turns, I have always been determined to realize it. My earlier proposals were either more abstract or ceremonial. Sky Ladder today is tender, and touches my heart deeply: it carries affection for my hometown, my relatives and my friends. In contrast to my other attempts, which set the ignition time at dusk, this time the ladder rose toward the morning sun, carrying hope. For me, this not only means a return but also the start of a new journey.
 

Posted on December 02nd 2016 on 05:00am
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