Prado Museum Hosts Gunpowder Art
Prado Museum Hosts Gunpowder Art

Prado Museum Hosts Gunpowder Art

Prado Museum Hosts Gunpowder Art

The smell of gunpowder still lingered at Prado Museum in Madrid, Spain, on Oct. 24, hours after China’s Cai Guo-Qiang, famed for his explosive art, put the finishing touch to his show. Better used to the work of long-dead painters, this is the first time that the museum has welcomed an artist-in-residence, whose internationally-acclaimed contemporary work stands in stark contrast to the centuries-old masterpieces normally on show. In his exhibition, some of which was produced on-site using his trademark gunpowder, Cai sought inspiration from famous artists such as El Greco, Francisco Goya and Diego Velazquez, as well as other painters in the collection like Peter Paul Rubens, AFP reported. Cai’s show was a literal explosion of color and darkness revealing silhouettes, faces and landscapes. It is a “dialogue between today’s art and the art of the past”, the 59-year-old told reporters. He creates his work by sprinkling gunpowder over canvases and over stencils of whatever scene or figure he wants to create or recreate, sometimes mixed with color. Then he sets fire to the powder. Sometimes, he says, he covers the canvas and gunpowder with cardboard and bricks to make the explosion more powerful. For the eight works created on-site at the Prado, he used gunpowder from a company in the eastern region of Valencia known for its annual, firecracker festivals.  “Valencia gunpowder is really powerful, really strong,” he said, smiling. The exhibition is on until March 4 next year.


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