Odyssey and Homecoming

The Palace Museum, Beijing

December 15, 2020–February 5, 2021

Curated by Sir Simon Schama

Photos by Lin Yi (1), Zhou Yi (2), and Yang Yan (3), courtesy Cai Studio

West Wing Gallery: Odyssey

Exhibition view of Odyssey and Homecoming, West Wing Gallery, 2020.
Photos by Lin Yi (1–7, 11), Sijia Yang (8, 9), and Hsiu-man Lin (10), courtesy Cai Studio

In Search of El Greco No. 8
2016
Gunpowder on canvas
91.5 × 91.5 cm

Dialogue with Baroque Art and the Spanish Golden Age

Photo by Yvonne Zhao, courtesy Cai Studio

In Search of El Greco No. 6
2016
Gunpowder on canvas
91.5 × 91.5 cm

Dialogue with Baroque Art and the Spanish Golden Age

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Painting El Greco’s The Saviour No. 1
2017
Gunpowder on canvas
152.5 × 122 cm

Dialogue with Baroque Art and the Spanish Golden Age

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

In Search of El Greco No. 6
2016
Gunpowder on canvas
91.5 × 91.5 cm

Dialogue with Baroque Art and the Spanish Golden Age

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Selfie
2017
Gunpowder on canvas
183 × 304 cm

Dialogue with Baroque Art and the Spanish Golden Age

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Painting Rubens’s Diana and Satyrs
2017
Gunpowder on canvas
150 × 300 cm

Dialogue with Baroque Art and the Spanish Golden Age

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Black Poppy
2016
Gunpowder on canvas
152.5 × 1097 cm

Dialogue with Baroque Art and the Spanish Golden Age

Photo by Yvonne Zhao, courtesy Cai Studio

Blue
2017
Gunpowder on canvas
183 × 152.5 cm

Dialogue with Baroque Art and the Spanish Golden Age

Photo by Yvonne Zhao, courtesy Cai Studio

The Distant Clouds
2017
Gunpowder on canvas
360 × 300 cm

Dialogue with Baroque Art and the Spanish Golden Age

Photo by Yvonne Zhao, courtesy Cai Studio

Salón de Reinos …
2017
Gunpowder on canvas
360 × 600 cm

Dialogue with Baroque Art and the Spanish Golden Age

Photo by Christopher Burke, courtesy Cai Studio

“Craters” Made by Humans for Their Own Planet: Pourrières
1990
Gunpowder and ink on paper
93.98 × 63.5 cm

Dialogue with Cézanne

Photo by Mengjia Zhao, courtesy Cai Studio

“Craters” Made by Humans for Their Own Planet No. 11: Sketch on Explosion Site
1990
Gunpowder and ink on paper
92.71 × 63.5 cm

Dialogue with Cézanne

Photo by Mengjia Zhao, courtesy Cai Studio

“Craters” Made by Humans for Their Own Planet: At the Remains of the Minimes Convent
1990
Gunpowder and ink on paper
92.71 × 63.5 cm

Dialogue with Cézanne

Photo by Mengjia Zhao, courtesy Cai Studio

“Craters” Made by Humans for Their Own Planet No. 1: Looking at Mont Sainte-Victoire from a Distance, the Explosion Dedicated to Paul Cézanne
1990
Gunpowder and ink on paper
63.5 × 93.98 cm

Dialogue with Cézanne

Photo by Mengjia Zhao, courtesy Cai Studio

Drawing for Ascending Dragon
1989
Gunpowder and ink on paper
66.5 × 72 cm

Dialogue with Cézanne

Photo by Mengjia Zhao, courtesy Cai Studio

Crater
1989
Gunpowder, oil, and paper pulp on canvas
61 × 73 × 3 cm

Dialogue with Cézanne

Photo by Mengjia Zhao, courtesy Cai Studio

Crater
1990
Gunpowder on papier-mâché
56 × 67 × 2.5 cm

Dialogue with Cézanne

© Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation New York. Photo by David Heald

Crater No. 3
1990
Gunpowder on papier-mâché
Diameter: 39.4 cm

Dialogue with Cézanne

Photo by Mengjia Zhao, courtesy Cai Studio

Ascending Dragon: Project for Extraterrestrials No. 2
1989
Gunpowder and ink on paper
240 × 300 cm
Collection of Leo Shih

Dialogue with Cézanne

Photo courtesy Cai Studio

Cypress of Mont Sainte-Victoire
2019
Gunpowder on canvas
275 × 200 cm

Dialogue with Cézanne

Photo by Yvonne Zhao, courtesy Cai Studio

Structure
2019
Gunpowder on canvas
240 × 300 cm

Dialogue with Cézanne

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

En Route
2019
Gunpowder on canvas, 3 out of 4 panels shown
(Beijing)
200 × 275 cm each

Dialogue with Cézanne

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Dead Roses No. 1
2018
Gunpowder on canvas
122 × 91.5 cm

Dialogue with the Italian Renaissance

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Fallen Iris
2018
Gunpowder on canvas
150 × 240 cm

Dialogue with the Italian Renaissance

Photo by Yvonne Zhao, courtesy Cai Studio

Silverpoint Study No. 1
2018
Gunpowder on canvas
35.4 × 28 cm

Dialogue with the Italian Renaissance

Photo by Yvonne Zhao, courtesy Cai Studio

Silverpoint Study No. 4
2018
Gunpowder on canvas
35.4 × 28 cm

Dialogue with the Italian Renaissance

Photo by Yvonne Zhao, courtesy Cai Studio

Silverpoint Study No. 5
2018
Gunpowder on canvas
30.5 × 23 cm

Dialogue with the Italian Renaissance

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Green Shrubs
2018
Gunpowder on canvas
76 × 76 cm

Dialogue with the Italian Renaissance

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Daisy Field No. 1
2018
Gunpowder on canvas
51 × 61 cm

Dialogue with the Italian Renaissance

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Wall Plant No. 2
2018
Gunpowder on canvas
25 × 25 cm

Dialogue with the Italian Renaissance

Photo by Yvonne Zhao, courtesy Cai Studio

Maple Leaves No. 2
2018
Gunpowder on canvas
25 × 25 cm

Dialogue with the Italian Renaissance

Photo by Yvonne Zhao, courtesy Cai Studio

Yellow Iris
2018
Gunpowder on canvas
61 × 51 cm

Dialogue with the Italian Renaissance

Photo by Yvonne Zhao, courtesy Cai Studio

Study for Uffizi: Green Roses No. 2
2018
Gunpowder on canvas
122 × 183 cm

Dialogue with the Italian Renaissance

Photo by Yvonne Zhao, courtesy Cai Studio

Study for Uffizi: Flora No. 3
2018
Gunpowder on canvas
183 × 152.5 cm

Dialogue with the Italian Renaissance

Photo by Yvonne Zhao, courtesy Cai Studio

Sweet Briar
2018
Gunpowder on canvas
122 × 152.5 cm
The East West Bank Collection

Dialogue with the Italian Renaissance

Photo by Yvonne Zhao, courtesy Cai Studio

Study of Birds
2018
Gunpowder and oil on canvas
200 × 300 cm

Dialogue with the Italian Renaissance

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Poppy Series: Hallucination No. 1
2015
Gunpowder on canvas
183 × 608 cm

Dialogue with Cai’s Original Passion for Painting

Photo by Lydia Ohl, courtesy Cai Studio

Cai Guo-Qiang: October, Daytime Explosion Event on Red Square
2017
Animated video
7:23

Dialogue with Socialist Realism and Avant-Garde Art

Photo courtesy the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts

Kremlin in the Snow
2017/2020
Gunpowder on canvas
122 × 91.5 cm

Dialogue with Socialist Realism and Avant-Garde Art

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Malevich Over Red Square: Black Square
2017
Gunpowder on canvas
120 × 120 cm

Dialogue with Socialist Realism and Avant-Garde Art

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Malevich Over Red Square: Black Cross
2017
Gunpowder on canvas
120 × 120 cm

Dialogue with Socialist Realism and Avant-Garde Art

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Malevich Over Red Square: Black Circle
2017
Gunpowder on canvas
120 × 120 cm

Dialogue with Socialist Realism and Avant-Garde Art

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Red Star Over Red Square
2017
Gunpowder on canvas
120 × 120 cm

Dialogue with Socialist Realism and Avant-Garde Art

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Selfie in Front of Kramskoi’s Painting (Study for River)
2017
Gunpowder on canvas
120 × 120 cm

Dialogue with Socialist Realism and Avant-Garde Art

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

A Stencil for River
2017
Laser-cut chipboard
66 × 46 cm

Dialogue with Socialist Realism and Avant-Garde Art

Photo by Mengjia Zhao, courtesy Cai Studio

Wenhao Cai
Wenhao’s Sketch of Seneca
2018
Charcoal on paper
43 × 35.5 cm

Dialogue with Ancient Greek and Roman Civilizations

Photo by Yvonne Zhao, courtesy Cai Studio

Cai’s Sketch of Seneca
2018
Charcoal on paper
43 × 35.5 cm

Dialogue with Ancient Greek and Roman Civilizations

Photo by Yvonne Zhao, courtesy Cai Studio

Pseudo-Seneca: Red
2019
Gunpowder on plaster
49 × 23 × 24 cm

Dialogue with Ancient Greek and Roman Civilizations

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Plum Venus
2019
Gunpowder on plaster
154 × 56 × 42 cm

Dialogue with Ancient Greek and Roman Civilizations

© Amedeo Benestante

Mount Vesuvius
2019
Gunpowder on canvas
80 × 80 cm

Dialogue with Ancient Greek and Roman Civilizations

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Pompeiian Red
2019
Gunpowder on panel for fresco
122 × 244 cm

Dialogue with Ancient Greek and Roman Civilizations

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Non-Brand 非品牌 1
2019
Gunpowder on glass and mirror
183 × 150 cm

Dialogue with Modernism

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Non-Brand 非品牌 2
2019
Gunpowder on glass and mirror
183 × 150 cm

Dialogue with Modernism

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Non-Brand 非品牌 3
2019
Gunpowder on glass and mirror
183 × 150 cm

Dialogue with Modernism

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Non-Brand 非品牌 5
2019
Gunpowder on glass and mirror
183 × 150 cm

Dialogue with Modernism

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

The Spirit of Painting. Cai Guo-Qiang at the Prado
2017/2020
Video documentation
11:23
Original video The Spirit of Painting (2017) © Miss Wasabi Films; directed by Isabel Coixet, produced by Miss Wasabi Films for the Prado Museum
Re-edited by 33 Studio

Dialogue with Baroque Art and the Spanish Golden Age

Cai Guo-Qiang: Returning to Mont Saint-Victoire
2020
Video documentation
11:16
Directed by Shanshan Xia, produced by 33 Studio

Dialogue with Cézanne

Photo by 33 Studio, courtesy Cai Studio

Flora Commedia: Cai Guo-Qiang at the Uffizi
2018/2020
Video documentation
6:07
Directed by Shanshan Xia, produced by 33 Studio

Dialogue with the Italian Renaissance

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Cai Guo-Qiang: Non-Brand 非品牌
2019/2020
Video documentation
4:07
Footage by Shanshan Xia, 33 Studio, Sijia Yang, and Sang Luo (courtesy Cai Studio) and installation views of Artistic License: Six Takes on the Guggenheim Collection, at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, May 24, 2019–January 12, 2020, with additional footage © The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. All artworks © the artists
Edited by 33 Studio

Dialogue with Modernism

Photo by 33 Studio, courtesy Cai Studio

East Wing Gallery: Odyssey

Exhibition view of Odyssey and Homecoming, East Wing Gallery, 2020. Photos by Lin Yi, courtesy Cai Studio

Exploding Hercules
2019
Gunpowder on plaster
320 × 150 × 98 cm

Dialogue with Ancient Greek and Roman Civilizations

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Study for Pompeii No. 3: Hercules
2018
Gunpowder on canvas
240 × 150 cm

Dialogue with Ancient Greek and Roman Civilizations

Photo by Yvonne Zhao, courtesy Cai Studio

Study for Pompeii No. 4: Hercules
2018
Gunpowder on canvas
240 × 150 cm

Dialogue with Ancient Greek and Roman Civilizations

Photo by Yvonne Zhao, courtesy Cai Studio

Study for Pompeii: Fierce Lion
2018
Gunpowder on canvas
300 × 300 cm

Dialogue with Ancient Greek and Roman Civilizations

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Day and Night in Toledo
2017
Gunpowder on canvas
260 × 600 cm

Dialogue with Baroque Art and the Spanish Golden Age

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Mountain in Heat
2016
Gunpowder on canvas
239 × 450 cm

Dialogue with Baroque Art and the Spanish Golden Age

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Palmyra
2017
Gunpowder on canvas
240 × 450 cm

Dialogue with Baroque Art and the Spanish Golden Age

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

The Spirit of Painting
2017
Gunpowder on canvas, 8 out of 10 panels shown (Beijing)
300 × 180 cm each

Dialogue with Baroque Art and the Spanish Golden Age

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Hometown Sky Ladder
2015
Gunpowder on paper
400 × 300 cm
PINAULT COLLECTION

Dialogue with the Middle Ages

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Medieval Study: Tower of Grotesques
2020
Gunpowder on canvas
263 × 300 cm

Dialogue with the Middle Ages

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

The Bats’ Eyes No. 2
2020
Gunpowder on canvas
263 × 450 cm

Dialogue with the Middle Ages

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Black Light No. 1
2020
Gunpowder on canvas
360 × 600 cm

Dialogue with the Middle Ages

Photo by Christopher Burke, courtesy Cai Studio

In the Volcano: Cai Guo-Qiang and Pompeii
2019/2020
Video documentation
7:50
Directed by Shanshan Xia, produced by 33 Studio

Dialogue with Ancient Greek and Roman Civilizations

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

October: The Unrealized Century
2017/2020
Video documentation
12:48
Directed by Shanshan Xia, produced by 33 Studio

Dialogue with Socialist Realism and Avant-Garde Art

Photo by 33 Studio, courtesy Cai Studio

Voyage Through the Middle Ages During the Pandemic
2020
Video documentation
12:32
Directed by Shanshan Xia, produced by 33 Studio

Dialogue with the Middle Ages

Photo by 33 Studio, courtesy Cai Studio

Still images from Sleepwalking in the Forbidden City (2020), courtesy Cai Studio

VR film direction: Shanshan Xia with Consulting Director Lei Chen
CGI Animation: Beijing Blackbow
360° film shot by: Shanghai Leshan Information Technology
Alabaster model of the Forbidden City handcrafted by: Quanzhou Xinwen Craft
Fireworks executed by: Liuyang Tang Hua Fireworks

Sleepwalking in the Forbidden City
2020
Fireworks ceremony in virtual reality experienced through VR headsets
Approx. 5 minutes
Virtual Reality in partnership with HTC VIVE Arts

Dialogue with Chinese Culture and Spirit II

VR still courtesy Cai Studio

VR experience demonstration of Sleepwalking in the Forbidden City
2020
Video
Approx. 7 minutes
Virtual Reality in partnership with HTC VIVE Arts

Gunpowder Drawing for Sleepwalking in the Forbidden City
2020
Gunpowder and ink on paper, mounted on wood as six-panel screen
230 × 465 cm

Dialogue with Chinese Culture and Spirit II

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Sleepwalking in the Forbidden City: After the Fireworks
2020
Gunpowder on alabaster
39.8 × 472.3 × 663.3 cm

Dialogue with Chinese Culture and Spirit II

Photo by Lin Yi, courtesy Cai Studio

Central Tower Gallery: Homecoming

Exhibition view of Odyssey and Homecoming, Central Tower Gallery, 2020. Photos by Lin Yi (1–3, 5–9) and Hsiu-man Lin (4), courtesy Cai Studio

Wall of Early Paintings
2020
Paintings from the 1970s–80s and 2001;
watercolor, oil, gouache, and acrylic on paper,
canvas, cardboard, and cardstock
Approx. 260 × 970 cm

Dialogue with Cai’s Original Passion for Painting

Photo by Lin Yi, courtesy Cai Studio

Cai Ruiqin
Untitled (Matchbox Drawings)
Dates unknown
Ink, pen, and pencil on cardboard matchboxes
22.9 × 30.5 cm framed
(shown with Wall of Early Paintings)

Dialogue with Cai’s Original Passion for Painting

Photo courtesy Cai Studio

Color Gunpowder Drawing for City of Flowers in the Sky
2018
Gunpowder on paper, 4 out of 8 sheets shown
(Beijing)
400 × 300 cm each

Dialogue with the Italian Renaissance

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Sketches for City of Flowers in the Sky
2018
Pencil and marker on paper, 35 sketches in total
151 × 140 cm

Dialogue with the Italian Renaissance

Courtesy Cai Studio

Flow (Cypress)
2019
Gunpowder on paper, shown with 16 porcelain birds from Pulse (Mountain), 2019 (Beijing)
Painting: 300 × 1600 cm; birds: 10 × 20 × 30 cm each

Dialogue with Chinese Culture and Spirit I

Photo © Tobias Titz Photography

Transience II (Peony)
2019
Gunpowder on silk
350 x 3080 cm

Dialogue with Chinese Culture and Spirit I

Photo © Tobias Titz Photography
Outside My Window: April in the Year of Gengzi
2020
Gunpowder on canvas
183 x 305 cm

Dialogue with Chinese Culture and Spirit II

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Peaceful Earth: Project for Extraterrestrials No. 18
2020
Gunpowder and ink on paper, mounted on wood as three-panel screen
230 x 232.5 cm

Dialogue with the Cosmos

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio
Nostalgia for Homeland: Project for Humankind No. 4
2020
Gunpowder and ink on paper, mounted on wood as four-panel screen
230 x 310 cm

Dialogue with the Cosmos

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio
Milky Way Canyon: Project for Extraterrestrials No. 15
2020
Gunpowder and ink on paper, mounted on wood as seven-panel screen
230 x 542.5 cm

Dialogue with the Cosmos

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio
Humanity’s Epitaph: Project for Extraterrestrials No. 13
2020
Gunpowder and ink on paper, mounted on wood as six-panel screen
230 x 465 cm

Dialogue with the Cosmos

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio
Frolicking on Ice in the Galaxy
2020
Gunpowder on glass and mirror
205 x 915 cm

Dialogue with the Cosmos

Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Jin Kun, Cheng Zhidao, Fu Long’an, et al.
Frolic on the Ice (Bing Xi Tu)
Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Ink and colors on silk
35 × 578.8 cm
Collection of the Palace Museum

Dialogue with the Cosmos

Photo courtesy the Palace Museum

Homecoming
2020
8:13
Video documentation
Footage courtesy National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Directed by Shanshan Xia, produced by 33 Studio

Dialogue with Chinese Culture and Spirit II

Photo by 33 Studio, courtesy Cai Studio

Sky and Land as Canvas: Selected Explosion Events
2020
3:05
Video compilation
Directed by Shanshan Xia, produced by 33 Studio

Lofty Pavilion: A Material Odyssey

Curated by Rachel Rivenc and Tom Learner
Organized by Getty Conservation Institute

Exhibition view of A Material Odyssey, a Getty Conservation Institute research exhibition, 2020. Photos by Lin Yi, courtesy Cai Studio

Test 2017.1-1A (Black gunpowder)
2017
Gunpowder on canvas, 2 out of 18 panels shown (Beijing)
25.5 × 25.5 cm each

Test 2017.1-1B (Black gunpowder)
2017
Gunpowder on canvas, 18 panels
25.5 × 25.5 cm each

Study for Seven-Headed Dragon
2016
Gunpowder on porcelain
Approx. 37 × 26 × 17 cm

Exhibition view at Bonnefantenmuseum Maastricht, 2016.
Photo by Harry Heuts, courtesy Bonnefantenmuseum

Black Peony
2020
Gunpowder on porcelain
66.8 × 37.3 × 5.7 cm

Photo of Black Peony (2008) by Yvonne Zhao, courtesy Cai Studio

Unexploded Peony porcelain panel
2008
Porcelain
66.8 × 37.3 × 5.7 cm

Making Art with Gunpowder
2020
Video documentation
8:22
Footage provided by Cai Studio and 33 Studio,
edited by Ava Porter for Getty

Color Gunpowder Test in Moscow
2017
Gunpowder on canvas
120 × 120 cm

Courtesy The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts

Test 2016.11-2A (Japanese gunpowder)
2016
Gunpowder on canvas, 2 out of 6 panels shown (Beijing)
25.5 × 25.5 cm each
Collection of Getty Conservation Institute

Rubbing of Archean Era
early 1980s
Ink and gunpowder on canvas
140 × 60 cm

Photo by Yvonne Zhao, courtesy Cai Studio

Pillar for the Sky
1985
Gunpowder and oil on canvas
80.1 x 116.84 cm

Photo by Tatsumi Masatoshi, courtesy Cai Studio

Shadow: Pray for Protection
1985–86
Gunpowder, ink, candle wax, and oil on canvas, mounted on wood
155 x 300 cm

Photo courtesy Cai Studio

Gunpowder Drawing No. 8-27
1988
Gunpowder on paper
27 x 24 cm

Photo by Yvonne Zhao, courtesy Cai Studio

The Immensity of Heaven and Earth: Project for Extraterrestrials No. 11, Preliminary Drawing No. 3
1991
Gunpowder and ink on paper
74.9 x 55.9 cm

Photo by Xiaoli Ma, courtesy Cai Studio

Test 2016.11-1A (Chinese gunpowder)
2016
Gunpowder on canvas, 6 panels with a piece cut out from each
25.5 × 25.5 cm each
Collection of Getty Conservation Institute

Test 2016.11-1A (Chinese gunpowder)
2016
Gunpowder on canvas, 6 cutout pieces from 6 panels
14 × 7 cm each
Collection of Getty Conservation Institute

Color Gunpowder Test for Getty
2016
Gunpowder on canvas, 6 cutout pieces from
1 scroll
14 × 7 cm each

Color Gunpowder Test for Getty
2016
Gunpowder on paper, 6 cutout pieces
14 × 7 cm each
Collection of Getty Conservation Institute