Your Daytime Fireworks — An Exploratory Journey with the NFT Community

For decades, contemporary artist Cai Guo-Qiang has been internationally acclaimed for his creative use of gunpowder, including his famous explosion event Sky Ladder (2015) and the “Big Footprints” at the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony (2008). But Cai is no stranger to the NFT world, and his previous artistic oeuvre continues to inform his ongoing crypto art experiments…

Initial Exploration of NFTs

Cai launched his first NFT Transient Eternity — 101 Ignitions of Gunpowder Paintings in July 2021, in collaboration with TRLab. As a continuation of his decades-long experimental and creative artistic practice, the work transforms “ignition moments,” a crucial part of gunpowder painting, into an NFT. These moments all come from the pieces Cai created during his recent undertaking Individual’s Journey Through Western Art History. Cai has commented,

Transient Eternity is the existence of the explosion moment itself — not the videos or photographs with which the ignition instant was preserved in the traditional sense, or the physical gunpowder painting that was born from the ignition…”

Cai subsequently released Exploding the Self (99 editions), also “a moment of explosion.” This NFT is the genesis moment of a self-portrait of Cai’s that he created at the time. 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. The artist’s masked selfie is a frank contemplation of the complexity and vulnerability he experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Transient Eternity set the record for the highest NFT sale from a non-crypto-native artist, achieving $2.5 million USD. Exploding the Self also sold out within minutes of its release. Proceeds from the two works were donated to the Rockbund Art Museum in Shanghai and Cai Foundation in New York.

Your Daytime Fireworks

“I am constantly in the pursuit of creative breakthroughs…the experience of working with TRLab (twice now) and experimenting with NFTs made me appreciate firsthand the special importance of community engagement in the NFT world, which resonates with diverse aspects of my art methodology: working with different cultural and regional communities around the globe over the years, inviting audiences to participate in the making of my artworks and transforming this process into an integral part of the works, and creating firework events that attract hundreds of millions of viewers who watch on-site and online. Perhaps there are still untapped possibilities yet to be discovered? This is how Your Daytime Fireworks came into being.” — Cai Guo-Qiang

Cai Guo-Qiang, Concept Sketch for Your Daytime Fireworks, 2021. Pencil and marker on paper, 21.6 x 27.9 cm.

As Cai’s third NFT, Your Daytime Fireworks invites NFT players to embark on a magical journey to explore and participate in Cai’s world of daytime fireworks.

Cai started creating artworks with gunpowder as a medium while still residing in his hometown of Quanzhou, China. During his time in Japan from the end of 1986 until 1995, Cai gradually developed his signature outdoor explosion events.

Daytime fireworks are much safer than traditional, widely used nighttime fireworks, and the way they produce their visual effects differ as well. The effects of daytime fireworks are affected by natural environmental conditions such as weather as well as local regulations on minimum safety distances. Over the years, Cai has been making consistent efforts to develop more eco-conscious fireworks with reduced smoke and sulfur emissions. The daytime fireworks that he created utilize biodegradable colored powders, minimizing environmental impact.

Your Daytime Fireworks invites collectors to set off their own virtual daytime fireworks. Through the project, collectors will follow in the footsteps of the artist as they undertake their own exploration and participation. They will feel the uncertainty as well as the unexpected joy Cai experienced as he set off fireworks in different regions and under different weather conditions across the globe. Over the course of the project, collectors will also practice the pursuit of environmental protection with their own digital fireworks.

Cai Guo-Qiang watches the ignition of a gunpowder painting at the Salón de Reinos (Hall of Realms), Madrid, 2017 © Museo Nacional del Prado

A Few Words from TRLab

At TRLab, our mission is to pioneer a new way to conceptualize and collect fine art. Before each project launch, we consider a few factors: why this particular project should be an NFT, what types of innovative experiences this can create, what the purpose of the drop is, and how it will affect the bond between the artist and the larger NFT community.

With Your Daytime Fireworks, we’re proud to say that all these considerations have led to something refreshing and bold, and we are beyond excited to finally be able to let the world know what we’ve been collaborating on with Cai.

We are also excited to announce that we’ve partnered up with broken thread, the team that helped launch Tom Sachs: Rocket Factory, for Your Daytime Fireworks. With their expertise and passion for building out multiple Web3 projects, we’ve created yet another immersive experience for collectors and enthusiasts alike.

There are three chapters to this project: Golden Tickets, Firework Packet Minting, and Your Daytime Fireworks. More details about each chapter and the NFT minting process will be announced soon, so stay tuned.

Visit →

Your Daytime Fireworks — Chapter 1: Golden Tickets →

An Update on the TRLab Community, Partnerships, and “Golden Tickets!” →

Your Daytime Fireworks — Chapter 2: Firework Packet Minting →

Your Daytime Fireworks — Chapter 3: Your Daytime Fireworks →

About Cai Guo-Qiang

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

Born in Quanzhou, Fujian in 1957, Cai was trained in stage design at the Shanghai Theatre Academy during the early 1980s. He then moved to Japan, residing there from the end of 1986 until 1995. Grounded in the conceptual foundations of Eastern philosophy and contemporary social issues, his artworks span multiple artistic mediums including painting, installation, video, and performance art. His often site-specific artworks adapt to local conditions, interpreting and responding to the local culture and history as well as establishing a dialogue between viewers and the larger universe around them. His famed explosion artworks and installations are imbued with a force that transcends the two-dimensional plane to oscillate freely between society and nature.

For the past three decades, Cai has held diverse solo exhibitions in major art museums around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2006 and his retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2008. In 2015, Cai realized the explosion event Sky Ladder in his hometown of Quanzhou, Fujian. The artwork became the centerpiece of an eponymous documentary directed by Academy Award winner Kevin Macdonald and globally distributed on Netflix.

In recent years, he has embarked on his Individual’s Journey Through Western Art History — a series of exhibitions held in world-renowned museums, including the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts (Russia, 2017), Museo del Prado (Spain, 2017), Uffizi Galleries (Italy, 2018), National Archaeological Museum of Naples and Pompeii Archaeological Park (Italy, 2019), and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (USA, 2019). From December 2020 to February 2021, Cai held his exhibition Odyssey and Homecoming at the Palace Museum in Beijing, marking the first solo exhibition of contemporary art in the museum’s history. In July 2021, Odyssey and Homecoming traveled to the Museum of Art Pudong in Shanghai as one of its inaugural exhibitions, where it will remain on display until April 5, 2022.

Cai has lived and worked in New York since 1995.

About broken thread

broken thread is a team bridging the digital and physical worlds through NFTs

Their mission is to contribute to the explosive growth in NFTs in an authentic and meaningful way by bringing talented artists from the traditional art world into this new medium through thoughtful projects, educating and converting their dedicated following along the way.

They believe that the digital and physical worlds are highly complementary, and their projects look to highlight this in creative ways.

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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.