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Cai Guo-Qiang

As 2013 and last year’s last minute’s resolutions fade in our post-debauch memory, you find the fireworks to have left mightier mental tinnitus.  Hats off to clubs and bars, but this ancient and rather bizarre spectacle deserve some mention–after all, New Year’s wouldn’t be the same without spark, crackle, and afterglow of smoke buttressing the night.
So here’s a small memorial for the short-lived fireworks, in the produce of Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang, a master of creative pyrotechnics.  Though the flashy One Night Stand (2013) showcases his skill in fiery manipulation while maintaining a theatrical irony, his trademark gunpowder drawings most capture the firework’s ebullience and elusiveness.  The charred rawness of the burnt paper is the inevitable consequence of control and containment, literally of playing with fire.  A piece is like skin that represents personality.  The content of each work is the residue–the memory–of the actual subject underlined in the titles, broken, or rather, seared into the paper by experience and process, these two seemingly inseparable.  The results emanate powerful nostalgia, yet one that allows the viewer to imagine in their rather beautiful ellipses.

Or maybe this post is all just a metaphor for revelry.  Until next year.