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Chinese, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in Japan and the USA.

Born 8 December 1957, in Quanzhou City (Fujian Province).

Painter, draughtsman, mixed media, video artist, installation artist, performance artist.

Cai Guo-Qiang trained in stage design at the Shanghai drama institute from 1981 to 1985. He spent several periods in Tibet, emigrated to Japan in 1986, and since 1995 lived in New York. Guo-Qiang made his name by using gunpowder in his work, which he would detonate as a symbol of his desire to free himself from cultural or political fetters. These works may be ephemera, which he captures on film or video—images that literally explode into being, or simulated landmines that detonate when visitors walk on them.

As a bearer of ancestral Chinese culture, Cai holds Western art up for examination as a form of inverse exoticism, shifting familiar ground by displacing his spectators and the way their eyes move. Sometimes, as in ...