Cai Guo-Qiang (b. 1957, Quanzhou, China) has literally exploded the accepted parameters of art making in our time. He draws freely from ancient mythology, military history, Taoist cosmology, extraterrestrial observations, Maoist revolutionary tactics, Buddhist philosophy, pyrotechnic technology, Chinese medicine, and methods of terrorist violence. This retrospective presents the full spectrum of the artist's protean, multimedia art in all its conceptual complexity.
Cai Guo-Qiang: I Want to Believe charts the artist's creation of a distinctive visual and conceptual language across four mediums: gunpowder drawings; explosion events; installations; and social projects. With more than 40 works from the 1980s to the present-selected from major public and private collections in the US, 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 spectacles for large audiences, including his recent work as a core member of the creative team that planned the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Organized by Thomas Krens and Alexandra Munroe, this comprehensive retrospective is the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao's first solo show devoted to a Chinese-born artist.