- Last Updated on Thursday, 12 July 2012 12:23
New York-based Cai Guo-Qiang's first solo exhibition in the Middle East opened 5 December at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, Qatar, with a bang.
The exhibition (5 December 2011-26 May, 2012) is the biggest for the artist since 2008 and includes more than 50 works including 16 newly commissioned pieces and 30 recent works and nine documentary videos.
Saraab (A: mirage), will showcase the artist's diverse body of work, ranging from his signature gunpowder drawings to large-scale site-specific installations and the opening day explosion event Black Ceremony. Saraab is inspired by the history of the artist's hometown of Quanzhou, China, and relationships between China and the Arab world dating back to the ancient maritime Silk Road.
Cai Guo-Qiang was interviewed by EAR Editor Sajid Rizvi before his exhibition/performance of fireworks at Tate Modern in 2003.
Highlights of the Doha show include Homecoming, an installation of 60 rocks from Quanzhou, into which Cai has re-carved excerpts of Arabic inscriptions from the Quran and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad that are seen on the Muslim tombstones in his hometown.
Fragile, a unique 18-metre long by 3-metre wide porcelain mural comprised of more than 480 individual panels, marks the first time Cai is incorporating porcelain on a large scale into his work with gunpowder.
His is also the first single-artist exhibition at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art. The first institution of its kind in the region, Mathaf offers an Arab perspective on modern and contemporary art and supports creativity, promotes dialogue and inspires new ideas. The 5,500-square-meter (59,000-square-foot) museum, located in a former school building in Doha's Education City, has a collection that offers a rare comprehensive overview of modern Arab art.