Jun 21, 2009

Guggenheim Bilbao's many random curves

Playing with Jeff Koon's Tulips

Arachnophiled by Louise Bourgeois's Maman

All these photos were taken by me.

A modern and contemporary art Museum, the Guggenheim was designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, and built by Ferrovial alongside the Nervion River in Bilbao. The Guggenheim is one of several museums belonging to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. It opened to the public in 1997 and is intended to resemble a ship. Indeed, the Guggenheim does look like a strange alien ship nestled in an otherwise ordinary Bilbao neighbourhood. The building's reflective titanium panels is meant to look like fish scales.

The featured exhibition until September is a retrospective of the brilliant Chinese artist, Cai Guo-Qiang - a multi-descliplined artist whose range of ideas and skill impressed me greatly. He is probably best known for his fireworks show for the Beijing Olympics. The exhibition ranges from gunpowder drawings to videos of his explosion events to site specific installations of life-size flying wolves crashing against a glass wall, a courtyard of disintegrating clay sculptures, and an ancient boat filled to spilling with broken china. It was amazing and inspiring!
I want to believe: Cai Guo-Qiang has subverted the accepted parameters of art making in our time. He draws freely from ancient mythology, military history, Taoist cosmology, extraterrestrial observations, Maoist revolutionary tactics, Buddhist philosophy, gunpowder related technology, Chinese medicine, and contemporary global conflicts. Cai’s art is a form of social energy, constantly mutable, linking what he refers to as “the seen and unseen worlds.” This retrospective presents the full spectrum of the artist’s protean, multimedia art in all its conceptual complexity. [blurb from the Guggenheim website]
This exhibition is a must see experience and was fully worth the 6 hour round trip we took to get there from San Sebastian.


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