An art critic may describe a painting or drawing as "explosive," and in doing so it would express an emotion. But for Cai Guo-Qiang's work, explosive is a literal translation.
Guo-Qiang, as NPR describes, makes two kinds of art. The first is a performance. The second is a drawing. The medium for both: gunpowder. According to NPR, Guo-Qiang strategically sprinkles gunpowder and large sheets of canvas. He and his volunteers use cardboard stencils to help make designs.
When it's time to ignite, volunteers and the audience put on masks and goggles. Watch the art in action:
The burned images in the creation above is called "Desire for Zero Gravity" and is supposed to "portray mankind’s undying fantasy to defy gravity and its unsuccessful challenges by naïve measures since antiquity." This piece, along with two others, was created last week in Los Angles to be part of an exhibition at the Museum for Contemporary Art.
NPR has more on Guo-Qiang's vision:
Although Cai's thought-provoking work is marked by careful preparation, the designs on the canvases are a product of spontaneous action.
"There's always a prevalent sense of anxiety and uncontrollablity in the work — and that's a lot like life," he explains.
A public outdoor explosion will take place in Los Angles April 7 entitled "Mystery Circle." This piece will be created in three stages of pyrotechnics. According to the release, mini rockets will "[form] a string of crop circles" and an "imaginary alien-god figure" will be illuminated from a gunpowder fuse on a wall. The result will be an imprint on the museum wall -- an outdoor drawing.