Skip to content
subscribe
Account
SEARCH

Categories

LASTEST

Cai Guo-Qiang

Cai Guo-Qiang’s Explosive Tribute to Pompeii

No contributor

On February 21, artist Cai Guo-Qiang wowed onlookers in Naples with “Explosion Studio”—an explosion of gunpowder and colored smoke at The Pompeii Ampitheatre. At the center of the space was a number of canvases and objects related to art and daily life in Pompeii, which were later the center of small explosions. Next, an outburst of colorful fireworks was set off along the canvases, mimicking a volcanic eruption. After the commotion came to a close, the artist and his team excavated of the artifacts, collecting the manmade ruins and the canvases, which had been newly transformed into “gunpowder paintings.”

The debris was then collected and presented at the National Archaeological Museum of Naples (MANN) in an exhibition curated by Jérôme Neutres and titled “In the Volcano: Cai Guo-Qiang and Pompeii.” On view through May 20 at the museum, the exhibition is inspired by the tragic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. Today, it offers a poetic recount of the historic event, bringing to light its exceptional discovery and archaeological finds.

The show is composed of works from the explosion—including excavated artifacts and a gunpowder painting over 104 feet long—that are presented in the museum with original Pompeiian artifacts. The outcome? A surprising exploration of an ongoing artistic journey, bridging the gap between the past and the present.

“When Vesuvius erupted, burying the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations, nature created a masterpiece, taking catastrophe as its medium and preserving the monumental heritage as a time-space capsule…” said Guo-Qiang. “For this project, I tried to let the hormones take the lead, to create something with a touch of ferocity, at a time when people often strive to be too civilized. Can I not simply stage an uncontrolled eruption, recalling the volcano and the day of judgment of Pompeii? A completely unexpected event, something that appears right on our path!”

With the support of the Morra Foundation and Archaeological Park of Pompeii, the exhibition at MANN is accompanied a documentary by Shanshan Xia.

SAME AS TODAY

FURTHER READING

The View at The Palm Opens in Dubai with Human-Centric Purpose

Whitewall spoke with John Bricker of Gensler about The View at The Palm in Dubai.

Louis Fratino Finds Power in Images of What We Love

Louis Fratino spoke with Whitewall about keeping the studio a space free from fear of failure.

The BMW Neue Klasse Looks to an All-Electric Future

The BMW Neue Klasse is a statement piece for a new era: design language that references classic BMW for its soon-to-be all-electric lineup.

SUBSCRIBE TO MAGAZINE

Kelly Wearstler

THE WINTER EXPERIENCE ISSUE
2023

Subscribe

SUBSCRIBE TO NEWSLETTER

Go inside the worlds of Art, Fashion, Design and Lifestyle.

READ THIS NEXT

SUBSCRIBE TO NEWSLETTER

Go inside the worlds
of Art, Fashion, Design,
and Lifestyle.