Cai Guo-Qiang: Peasant Da Vincis

“Created by Chinese Peasants”

“I see myself in them” ABOUT THE ARTIST, COLLECTOR AND CURATOR To explain his motive for collecting these homemade airplanes, helicopters and submarines, Cai says, “Since the start of the 21st century, I have read reports about peasants’ inventions fairly often.

Art Exhibition previously on at Rockbund Art Museum in China.
From Tuesday 04 May 2010 to Sunday 25 July 2010

Never Learned How to Land image Kites image Yves Klein’s Living Brush image Fairytale image Tan Chengnian’s Plane Wreck image Complex image Flying Saucer D image Waiting image Detached image Wu Yulu’s Robot Factory image Peasants – Making a Better City, a Better Life image

Published by anonymous on Thursday 23 October 2014.
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At first it was only amusing, but then at the end of 2004 I saw a photo of Twilight No. 1, a submarine built by Anhui peasant Li Yuming, and was impressed by the model’s charm. So I struck up contact with him and, during the Chinese New Year Holiday in 2005, acquired the submarine, the very first piece by a peasant in my collection.”

In June 2005, Cai Guo-Qiang, who at the time was curator of the China Pavilion in the Venice Biennale, staunchly supported the exhibition proposal of the artists Sun Yuan and Peng Yu. They invited the peasant Du Wenda to make a flying saucer in Venice. When the time came for the flying saucer to fly, Cai asked Du, “Have you thought about how to land when it takes off?”, to which Du answered, “Never thought about it, I just want it to fly.” Recalling the conversation, Cai feels as though Du Wenda and his flying saucer are projecting a different facet of Chinese society, “My concerns for these peasants are not from a socio-political angle. Rather, my first impression was they are very similar to me. They are curious, they have a pioneering spirit, and their interests in creation are very similar to mine as an artist. I see myself in them. My hometown is Quanzhou in Fujian Province. It used to be a small town, so I feel personally close to peasants. When I’m overseas, and people ask me about my identity, I often reply, ‘I am an Asian peasant.’”

Peasant da Vincis will be the first exhibition that focuses on the individual creativity of Chinese peasants, and it will be strike a different note from Cai’s recent works in China, such as the explosion project at the 2001 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Shanghai, the memorable “Footprints” at the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, the “Dove” and the firework screens at the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, all of which were government commissions. This time, with his eyes cast on the countryside of China and on the lives of ordinary citizens, Cai will take a more humble step.