Fallen Blossoms: Explosion Project, 2009. Photo by Lonnie Graham. Fallen Blossoms: Explosion Project, 2009. Cai Guo-Qiang at the Fabric Workshop and Museum. Fallen Blossoms, Time Scroll, 2009.
Cai Guo-Qiang at the Fabric Workshop and Museum. Fallen Blossoms: Explosion Project (Video Installation), 2009. Video projection. Time Flies Like a Weaving Shuttle, 2009. Twenty tapestries created on-site by five artisan Tujia weavers in residence (Li Chengfeng, Li Qiumei, Li Daiqin, Liang Aixiu, and Ye Jumei) five wooden weaving looms, wool yarn, audio, and a bulletin board with photographs and documents relating to Tujia culture and the weavers. Dimensions variable. Photo: Carlos Avendaño. Time Flies Like a Weaving Shuttle, 2009. Twenty tapestries created on-site by five artisan Tujia weavers in residence (Li Chengfeng, Li Qiumei, Li Daiqin, Liang Aixiu, and Ye Jumei) five wooden weaving looms, wool yarn, audio, and a bulletin board with photographs and documents relating to Tujia culture and the weavers. Dimensions variable. Photo: Carlos Avendaño. Time Flies Like A Weaving Shuttle, 2009-10. Twenty tapestries created on site by five artisan weavers from China, in residence at The Fabric Workshop and Museum. Five wooden weaving looms, cotton and synthetic yearn, audio and sound system, and wall text. Photo: Lonnie Graham. Time Flies Like a Weaving Shuttle, 2009. Twenty tapestries created on-site by five artisan Tujia weavers in residence (Li Chengfeng, Li Qiumei, Li Daiqin, Liang Aixiu, and Ye Jumei) five wooden weaving looms, wool yarn, audio, and a bulletin board with photographs and documents relating to Tujia culture and the weavers. Dimensions variable. Photo: Carlos Avendaño. Time Flies Like a Weaving Shuttle, 2009 (detail, back). Twenty tapestries created on-site by five artisan Tujia weavers in residence (Li Chengfeng, Li Qiumei, Li Daiqin, Liang Aixiu, and Ye Jumei) five wooden weaving looms, wool yarn, audio, and a bulletin board with photographs and documents relating to Tujia culture and the weavers. Dimensions variable. Photo: Carlos Avendaño.
Fallen Blossoms: Explosion Project, 2009. Photo by Lonnie Graham.
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Fallen Blossoms: Explosion Project, 2009.
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Cai Guo-Qiang at the Fabric Workshop and Museum.
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Fallen Blossoms, Time Scroll, 2009.
Cai Guo-Qiang at the Fabric Workshop and Museum.
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Fallen Blossoms: Explosion Project (Video Installation), 2009. Video projection.
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Time Flies Like a Weaving Shuttle, 2009. Twenty tapestries created on-site by five artisan Tujia weavers in residence (Li Chengfeng, Li Qiumei, Li Daiqin, Liang Aixiu, and Ye Jumei) five wooden weaving looms, wool yarn, audio, and a bulletin board with photographs and documents relating to Tujia culture and the weavers. Dimensions variable. Photo: Carlos Avendaño.
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Time Flies Like a Weaving Shuttle, 2009. Twenty tapestries created on-site by five artisan Tujia weavers in residence (Li Chengfeng, Li Qiumei, Li Daiqin, Liang Aixiu, and Ye Jumei) five wooden weaving looms, wool yarn, audio, and a bulletin board with photographs and documents relating to Tujia culture and the weavers. Dimensions variable. Photo: Carlos Avendaño.
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Time Flies Like A Weaving Shuttle, 2009-10. Twenty tapestries created on site by five artisan weavers from China, in residence at The Fabric Workshop and Museum. Five wooden weaving looms, cotton and synthetic yearn, audio and sound system, and wall text. Photo: Lonnie Graham.
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Time Flies Like a Weaving Shuttle, 2009. Twenty tapestries created on-site by five artisan Tujia weavers in residence (Li Chengfeng, Li Qiumei, Li Daiqin, Liang Aixiu, and Ye Jumei) five wooden weaving looms, wool yarn, audio, and a bulletin board with photographs and documents relating to Tujia culture and the weavers. Dimensions variable. Photo: Carlos Avendaño.
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Time Flies Like a Weaving Shuttle, 2009 (detail, back). Twenty tapestries created on-site by five artisan Tujia weavers in residence (Li Chengfeng, Li Qiumei, Li Daiqin, Liang Aixiu, and Ye Jumei) five wooden weaving looms, wool yarn, audio, and a bulletin board with photographs and documents relating to Tujia culture and the weavers. Dimensions variable. Photo: Carlos Avendaño.
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Cai Guo-Qiang:

Fallen Blossoms

December 11, 2009–March 2010


The Fabric Workshop and Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art present a multi-site exhibition of the work of Cai Guo-Qiang, one of the most prominent contemporary artists on the international art scene. Cai Guo-Qiang: Fallen Blossoms consists of a poetic meditation on the passing of time, memory, and memorializing. One of the artist's signature "explosion events," Fallen Blossoms: Explosion Project has been specifically commissioned for the exhibition and occurred at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; followed by a second explosion event at the Fabric Workshop and Museum. Inspired by the memory of Anne d'Harnoncourt (1943-2008), late director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and her long friendship with the founder and artistic director of the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Marion Boulton Stroud, Cai Guo-Qiang: Fallen Blossoms addresses themes of memory, loss and renewal on a personal and public level. It is Cai's first solo exhibition in Philadelphia and the first in the United States since his retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum in early 2008.

Fallen Blossoms: Explosion Project took place on Friday, December 11, 2009, starting at approximately 4:15 p.m. on the East Terrace of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and was followed by an event featuring the creation of a gunpowder drawing at the Fabric Workshop and Museum at 6 p.m. Each event was momentary. Cai Guo-Qiang: Fallen Blossoms includes four components, distributed between the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Fabric Workshop and Museum. In addition to the explosion event on December 11, a series of four gunpowder drawings and a sculptural installation are on view inside the Museum in a presentation titled Light Passage. Two newly commissioned works, Time Flies Like a Weaving Shuttle and Time Scroll, were on display on the seventh and eighth floor of the Fabric Workshop and Museum.

"Anne d'Harnoncourt and I were friends for more than 40 years," said Ms. Stroud. "Among the things we had in common were a shared commitment to public service in the arts, to Philadelphia, and to Pennsylvania. Before she died we both had in mind doing an exhibition devoted to Cai Guo-Qiang in collaboration with the Fabric Workshop and Museum. Afterward, in discussions with the artist I began to see that in his hands a larger meditation embracing the memory of Anne d'Harnoncourt might emerge, something that would find in the expression of the momentary something infinite."

"The concept for this collaborative exhibition actually began in a conversation between Anne d'Harnoncourt and Kippy Stroud several years ago, and it has now become, in part, a memorial to Anne," said Timothy Rub, the George D. Widener Director and CEO of the Museum. "We are grateful to Kippy Stroud for her commitment to realize the exhibition, both in appreciation of the Museum's extraordinary late director and as a reflection on universal themes."

FABRIC WORKSHOP AND MUSEUM (December 11, 2009 - March, 2010)
Themes of friendship, the passage of time, and loss are reflected at the Fabric Workshop and Museum through its presentations incorporating textiles, fibers, and other media. An audio recording of Stroud's reminiscences of her friend Anne d'Harnoncourt, which the artist used to create the exhibition's works, can be heard in the galleries where Cai Guo-Qiang's work is on view.

Second Floor:
The passage of time will be slowed on the second floor, where the explosion event realized at the Philadelphia Museum of Art is shown in a high-definition video that stretches the 10-second explosion event to several minutes.

Seventh Floor: Time Flies Like a Weaving Shuttle
This newly commissioned work involves the participation of five weavers from the Tu Family clan of the Xiangxi region in Hunan province, China, who have taken up residence in Philadelphia for three months at FWM's artist apartments, and are working daily in the galleries on a series of tapestries inspired by Stroud's remembrances of Anne d'Harnoncourt. Over the course of the exhibition, the weavers will create five tapestries to illustrate the accumulation of memories and the endurance of friendship, weaving at a speed of approximately 35 cm per day. Visitors are invited to watch the process as it takes place in the gallery.
 

Eighth Floor: Time Scroll
In this installation, an artificial river constructed of metal panels will flow through the length of the gallery. In a live public event on the evening of December 11, Cai ignited a 120-foot-long gunpowder drawing on silk, and which was then submerged into the river, where the scorched imprints are slowly washed away over the course of the exhibition.

PHILADELPHIA MUSEUM OF ART (December 11, 2009 - March 21, 2010)
Fallen Blossoms: Explosion Project occurred in front of the Museum's East Façade on December 11, where the image of a blossoming flower appeared at sunset, suggesting the ephemeral beauty of a spring blossom as the sky darkens behind it.

Inside the Museum, an exhibition of four gunpowder drawings are on view in the Lynne and Harold Honickman Gallery 172. The drawings, which follow the cycle of the four seasons, were created by igniting patterns of gunpowder on paper, evoking and renewing the spirit and tradition of Chinese literati ink painting. In the same gallery is 99 Golden Boats (2002), an installation consisting of leaf-shaped boats made of gold and suspended as if floating on an invisible river; symbolizing longevity and infinity.

"It is a testimony to Cai Guo-Qiang's sensibility and perceptiveness that this overall project is so particularly appropriate to its setting in Philadelphia, where history and reflection have always played such an important role in civic life," said Carlos Basualdo, the Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Curator of Contemporary Art. "It explores and represents its themes so precisely, in a manner that is at once public and intimate."

About the Artist:
Cai Guo-Qiang was born in 1957 in Quanzhou City, Fujian Province, China. 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, which led to the development of his signature explosion events. His installation works draw upon feng shui, philosophy, Chinese medicine and history, employing a site-specific, interdisciplinary approach that cuts across diverse mediums including drawing, painting, video and performance art. Cai was awarded the Golden Lion at the 48th Venice Biennale in 1999, the 7th Hiroshima Art Prize in 2007, and the 20th Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize in 2009. He was Director of Visual and Special Effects for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. In 2008, he was the subject of a retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. He has lived in New York since 1995.

Catalogue:
Cai Guo-Qiang: Fallen Blossoms was be published by the Fabric Workshop and Museum in early 2010, documenting the events and exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Fabric Workshop and Museum. Cai Guo-Qiang: Fallen Blossoms will include an introduction by Carlos Basualdo, the Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Curator of Contemporary Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and essays by Marion Boulton Stroud, Founder and Artistic director of the Fabric Workshop and Museum, art critic Wang Mingxian, and independent curator David Elliot. The catalogue will also include a statement by the artist and a selected exhibition history.

Cai Guo-Qiang: Fallen Blossoms has been funded at the Philadelphia Museum of Art by anonymous donors in memory of Anne d'Harnoncourt, and at The Fabric Workshop and Museum by the members of The Fabric Workshop and Museum.



Bio
Cai Guo-Qiang was born in 1957 in Quanzhou City, Fujian Province, China. 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, which led to the development of his signature explosion events. His installation works draw upon feng shui, philosophy, Chinese medicine and history, employing a site-specific, interdisciplinary approach that cuts across diverse mediums including drawing, painting, video and performance art. Cai was awarded the Golden Lion at the 48th Venice Biennale in 1999, the 7th Hiroshima Art Prize in 2007, and the 20th Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize in 2009. He was Director of Visual and Special Effects for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. In 2008, he was the subject of a retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. He has lived in New York since 1995.