The artist's ambitious plans for the gallery link his interest in the realm of ghosts and non-bodily forces with Edinburgh's rich history in this area. His specially-commissioned installations include a plantain grove planted in the Gallery, the trees' leaves inscribed with excerpts from Scottish and Chinese ghost stories sourced in association with acclaimed writer James Robertson. The artist will also create twelve new 'gunpowder drawings'.
The Fruitmarket Galleryâ€™s 2005 Edinburgh Festival exhibition is the first solo presentation in the UK of work by Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang. An artist who came to international attention through a series of major projects throughout the 1990s, he is widely known for works such as â€˜The Debt Collectorâ€™s Courtyardâ€™, winner of the Golden Lion in Venice in 1999 and â€˜Transient Rainbowâ€™, a spectacular firework rainbow made for MoMA, New York in 2002.
This year the artist has been invited to curate Chinaâ€™s first national presentation at the Venice Biennale.
The artistâ€™s ambitious plans for The Fruitmarket Gallery link his interest in the realm of ghosts and non-bodily forces with Edinburghâ€™s rich history in this area. His specially-commissioned installations include a plantain grove planted in the Gallery, the treesâ€™ leaves inscribed with excerpts from Scottish and Chinese ghost stories sourced in association with acclaimed writer James Robertson. The trees may conjure spirits, as they are thought to do in the artistâ€™s Chinese home town.
The artist will also create twelve new â€˜gunpowder drawingsâ€™, made by drawing on specialised paper with gunpowder and setting it alight, leaving the residue as a drawing burned into the paper. These beautiful and unusually-created drawings feature portraits of historical Scottish figures with connections to the spirit world, and will be displayed below a cloud of Chinese paper â€˜jossâ€™ dolls.
Cai Guo-Qiangâ€™s installations will be extended and enriched by collaborations across the city. At the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, gunpowder portraits will be displayed alongside portraits and death masks of notorious murderers and criminals, selected by the artist from the Galleryâ€™s rich holdings.
Edinburgh Castle is the site for Cai Guo-Qiangâ€™s most spectacular intervention into Edinburghâ€™s cultural life. The artist hopes to create a black rainbow made from custom-made black fireworks, designed to be seen in daylight, over this classic symbol of the cityâ€™s history.
Image: Black Rainbow: Explosion Project for Edinburgh (proposal) 2005
The Fruitmarket Gallery
45 Market Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1DF