While in Nice, Jeff and I visited the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MAMAC).  Having no idea what we’d see or experience, the first salon we entered was an entire floor dedicated to Chinese artist, Cai Guo-Qiang.


His work ended up really moving us.  Aside from a really cool installation of a shipwreck…

Cia Guo-Qiang's Shipwreck at MAMAC

Jeff checks out Shipwreck

…the highlight for us was his work using explosives.  He’ll involve an entire community to assist him with a work of art that is usually near 10 feet tall x 100 feet long at times.

Locals help Cai

He prepares a rough Asian-inspired landscape based on his travels, his culture or that may be attributed to a region he’s visiting.  This rough sketch is done in pencil or charcoal and then he pours black powder all over it’s outline.

Cai Guo-Qiang sprinkles gunpowder

Cai may place organic objects such as dry leaves or branches or blades of grass or other flora to enhance it.  Once he has the rough version the way he wants it, he’ll cover the entire thing in cardboard, then bricks, and then all at once……..BOOM!  The gunpowder gets lit in a series of small explosions.  The end result is BREATHTAKING.

Cai Guo-Qiang

Cai Guo-Qiang's piece in Nice. You can see Vieux Nice in the work.

As a matter of fact, it was so inspirational that Jeff has been experimenting with explosives in his art ever since.  Check back soon for examples!