Cai Guo-Qiang Brings Fine Art to Emerging Collectors with Second NFT Drop: Exploding The Self

Following the success of his record-setting debut NFT drop, internationally acclaimed artist Cai Guo-Qiang is releasing a second NFT in an online sale hosted by TR Lab — a small surprise for the NFT community. The sale, which begins on September 3rd at 9 AM ET, consists of 99 editions of Exploding the Self. Each edition is priced at 999 USD, in an endeavor to make Cai’s latest work accessible to a wider audience. The proceeds from the sale will go to Rockbund Art Museum in support of the museum’s education programs.

Last month, Cai Guo-Qiang made his first foray into the crypto space with Transient Eternity — 101 Ignitions of Gunpowder Paintings, commissioned by Rockbund Art Museum in Shanghai for their 10th anniversary charity auction. The 1/1 piece sold for 2.5 million USD in a 48-hour auction on TR Lab’s online platform, setting the record for the highest NFT sale from a non-crypto-native artist.

About Exploding the Self

A continuation of Transient Eternity, Exploding the Self is the genesis moment of a recent self-portrait by Cai. The artist’s silhouette appears in fierce firelight, as if in an instant of liberation he is experiencing the pleasure of approaching his true self. For the creation of the painting, gunpowder was arranged between two canvases that were laid face-to-face on the ground. Once the gunpowder was ignited, two images emerged — one canvas was true to reality, the other a bewildering abstraction. The artist’s masked selfie is a frank contemplation of the complexity and vulnerability he experienced during the pandemic.

Cai Guo-Qiang and the gunpowder painting born of Exploding the Self,” 2021. Photo by Luo Sang, courtesy of Cai Studio.

Transient Eternity is the moment of explosion and Exploding the Self continues the exploration of that moment,” said Cai Guo-Qiang. “I’ve only just begun exploring NFTs as a medium. One of my core artistic pursuits is to present the unseen world through what can be seen, and the virtual nature of the NFT can drive that pursuit. Overall I want my NFT projects to be more daring and adventurous than what has been achieved so far; to ask if it is possible to create an art project with a more forward-looking vision and more compelling forms and concepts by leveraging qualities unique to NFT technology.”

NFTs as a Gateway

Exploding the Self’s price was set through a mutual desire on the part of TR Lab and the artist’s to establish a direct connection with a new generation of collectors, while exploring new ways for them to access the art world. This decision echoes TR Lab’s mission to offer extraordinary NFT works to collectors and art lovers alike, as well as to empower the next generation of the art community by providing access to groundbreaking projects.

In addition to the limited edition NFT, current owners will gain access to an exclusive online community on TR Lab’s Discord channel where they can engage with Cai directly through Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions on the occasion of his NFT drops in the future. They will also receive invitations to future openings of Cai’s worldwide art projects for as long as they own the NFT.

TR Lab Chairwoman Xin Li-Cohen, Co-Founder Mia Deng, and CEO Audrey Ou interviewed by $Whale Community

Xin Li-Cohen, Chairwoman of TR Lab, noted, “At TR Lab, we believe NFTs have the ability to diversify the way art is discovered and collected. As the art world evolves to appeal to the digitally native collectors entering the space, the choices that collectors have will continue to expand, as well as the discussion and possibilities of what art can become.”

Accessing Exploding the Self

The NFT will be available to 99 buyers on a first-come, first-served basis starting on September 3rd at 9 AM ET. Each buyer will be limited to one edition per account. Collectors are required to register with TR Lab ahead of time and all payments must be made in U.S. dollar-pegged stablecoin USDC through cryptocurrency wallet MetaMask.

There will also be an early access period one hour before the sale opens to the public. To participate, collectors must fill out an Early Access Application at by August 29th at 9 am ET / 9 pm HKT.

Collectors in the Shanghai area who are registered for the presale by August 27th at 9 am ET / 9 pm HKT will also have the opportunity to enter a lottery for the chance to attend an exclusive in-person event with Cai at The Nest on the evening of August 29th. Nine winners will be chosen but those who are unable to attend in person will be invited to participate in the event via a livestream on the TR Lab Discord channel.

Support for Exploding the Self

TR Lab is hosting the NFT sale in partnership with Rockbund Art Museum, a contemporary art museum located on the Bund in Shanghai; Amber Group, one of the world’s leading crypto finance service providers; and OneKey, the first hardware display wallet for crypto assets and NFTs.

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TRLab is a fine art NFT platform. We fuse NFT technology with fine art expertise to pioneer the future of collecting.

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TRLab is a fine art NFT platform. We fuse NFT technology with fine art expertise to pioneer the future of collecting.