Cai Guo-Qiang was born in 1957 in Quanzhou City, Fujian Province, China. The son of a historian and painter, Cai was trained in stage design at the Shanghai Drama Institute. His work has, since the outset, been scholarly and often politically charged. He initially began working with gunpowder to foster spontaneity and confront the suppression that he felt from the controlled artistic tradition and social climate in China at the time.
While living in Japan from 1986 to 1995, he explored the properties of gunpowder in his drawings, an inquiry that eventually led to his experimentation with explosives on a massive scale and to the development of his signature explosion events, exemplified in the series Projects for Extraterrestrials.
Cai quickly achieved international prominence during his tenure in Japan, and since 1995, he has lived in New York. His approach draws on a wide variety of symbols, traditions, and materials such as feng shui, Chinese medicine, dragons, roller coasters, kites, boats, computers, live animals, and vending machines.
Today and Tomorrow \ Cai Guo-Qiang