Cai Guo-Qiang's Explosive Art Blends Ritual and Gunpowder

"Of course at the moment of ignition, the explosion is instantaneous, but gunpowder has its origins in minerals that took hundreds, thousands, or millions of years to form," Cai Guo-Qiang explains in this documentary portrait from the art startup Art.sy. Leading up to that moment, though, is a labor-intensive process of drawing and cutting stencils to shape the powder into aesthetic forms. This short film follows the Chinese artist as he reflects on his work and creates "Sky Ladder," an exhibition of three new "drawings" at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles.

The documentary was directed by Antony Crook and produced by Marina Cashdan. Art.sy aims to be a Pandora for art, using the Art Genome Project to match viewers (and collectors) with works they'll like. It's currently in private beta, but stay tuned for more documentaries from their Art.sy Films series on the Atlantic Video channel. Below, a video from MOCA documents Cai's "Mystery Circle," which involved 40,000 rockets:

For more videos from Art.sy, visit http://art.sy/.

Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.

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