The Fourth Special Daytime Firework: Celebrating Sky Ladder

On Cailendar Day 37, the fourth special Daytime Firework was revealed to commemorate Cai’s iconic explosion event: Sky Ladder.

Your Daytime Fireworks: Daytime Firework reveal — Day 37 of Cailendar.

The following information is sourced and quoted from:

On ‘Sky Ladder’

Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang. Documentary film directed by Academy Award winner Kevin Macdonald and distributed globally by Netflix. Film Poster.

On June 15, 2015 at dawn, Cai Guo-Qiang realized the explosion event Sky Ladder off the shore of Huiyu Island, a small fishing village in his hometown of Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China. The spectacle was a 500-meter long, 5.5-meter-wide ladder of golden fireworks, pulled by a gigantic white balloon that soared up into the sky, connecting heaven and earth.

Sky Ladder was realized after three failed attempts across the world over a course of 21 years. The earliest attempt to realize it was in 1994 for the Bath Festival but failed due to bad weather. The project was attempted two more times in vain, first in Shanghai then in Los Angeles, as documented in the film Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang (2016, dir. Kevin Macdonald, available on Netflix). An act of dialoguing with the unseen world, Sky Ladder was finally realized after twenty-one years at his fourth attempt in Quanzhou as a gift for Cai’s 100-year-old grandmother, his parents, family, and hometown.

Sky Ladder. Explosion event realized off Huiyu Island, Quanzhou, China. Photo by Wen-You Cai.

Cai’s grandmother and his father’s generation first lived in a fishing village by the sea in Quanzhou. It was also where, as a young boy, Cai looked up into the starry night, trying to communicate with the unknown world above him.

Since leaving Quanzhou at the end of 1986, Cai has left his artistic footprints in distinguished art institutions across five continents. Quanzhou’s rich history and diverse culture, with its mysterious local lore and openness to communicating with the world, has deeply impacted Cai’s art and life throughout his nearly thirty years of art practice.

During the inception of Sky Ladder, local villagers worked alongside the artist’s family, friends and team from preparation to execution, wholeheartedly supporting the project. Sky Ladder is the story of Cai’s departure and return to his hometown — a touching story of kinship and belonging.

Soon after its realization, a cellphone shot video of Sky Ladder attracted 56 million views on Facebook alone.

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