Cai Guo-Qiang: I Want to Believe at the Museo Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain is a comprehensive retrospective of the work of Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang. It’s the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao’s first solo show devoted to a Chinese-born artist.
Cai Guo-Qiang was born in Quanzhou, China in 1957. Cai Guo-Qiang was a core member of the creative team that planned the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. The exhibition I Want to Believe charts the artist’s creation across four mediums: gunpowder drawings, explosion events, installations, and social projects. Among the works on display are Innoportune: Stage one (2004, installation consisting of nine cars and sequenced multichannel light tubes), Reflection – A Gift from Iwaki (2004, excavated wooden boat and porcelain), and Head On (wolves jumping head on against a glass wall, first realized for Cai Guo-Qiang’s solo exhibition at the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin).
In the 1980s Cai studied stage design in Shanghai. In 1986, he moved to Japan, and in 1995, he moved to New York, where he lives today. In 1996, the work Cry Dragon/Cry Wolf: The Ark Of Genghis Khan, was a finalist in inaugural Hugo Boss Prize at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Three years later he was the recipient of the Golden Lion Award at the 48th Venice Biennale. In 2007, Cai was awarded the 7th Hiroshima Art Prize.
The retrospective was first shown at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, which VernissageTV filmed in March 2008. It was interesting to see not only the differences due to the fact that we then filmed the show without visitors and now during the opening reception. A comparison between the two videos show how the exhibition reacts to the architecture of two of the most exceptional museum buildings, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, and Frank Owen Gehry’s Museo Guggenheim in Bilbao.