观众遭遇被堵住的美术馆正殿入口，已是全新视觉感官经历，进入馆内，空间再次被艺术家拉伸变形：美术馆主轴、巨大古典台阶上空，横贯二十米火药书法丝绸《声音》， 挑高天井被切成两半；艺术家把书法、绘画的平面艺术，转换为磅礴诗意的空间装置。观众迎着《声音》拾级而上，头顶柔软白绸上黑火药爆破的《国际歌》箴言“从来没有救世主，也不靠神仙皇帝” ，几乎碰到时，已置身“白厅” ……
9月4日起，艺术家在莫斯科志愿者协助下，于全俄展览中心（VDNKh）22号馆现场，先后爆破火药作品《河流》《声音》和《花园》。 志愿者将一百张人民照片摆出历史的河流，教艺术家写俄语书法，帮助刻出巨大花朵纸模；艺术家点火后，扑灭画布的小火星… 共同经历一个个悬念的爆炸瞬间，见证作品诞生。（蔡国强工作室提供）
Moscow – The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts announces the long-anticipated opening of renowned international artist Cai Guo-Qiang’s first solo exhibition in Russia: October. On the occasion of the October Revolution’s centenary, Cai specifically created for the Pushkin Museum a series of bold new works that reflect on the role of individuals in history and the relationship between individual dreams and collective ideals. The exhibition was held with the support of Sberbank and was in the main building of the museum from September 13 to November 12, 2017, as a crucial component of the “Pushkin XXI” project.
During the past two weeks prior to the exhibition’s opening, local passers-by often gathered outside the Museum to photograph the installation Autumn, their posts stirring curious discussion on social media about the classical architecture’s transformation. A 16m-high mountain constructed out of hundreds of stacked baby cradles, cribs and strollers gradually rose at the entrance of the centuries-old museum, engulfing the front steps and colonnade. Then over three days, a crane planted one to two white birch trees of 3-4m in each cradle and birch saplings in each stroller. The larger trees shelter the small, forming a verdurous birch forest. During the installation process, this forest has already begun to yellow from the oncoming autumn. Over the course of the exhibition, the fallen leaves will blanket the mountainside, revealing the white trunks of the birches and the Constructivist-like structure of the mountain itself.
Literally obstructing the museum entrance, the dominating Autumn marks the beginning of an entirely original visual experience. Inside, the artist continues to manipulate the museum’s space. Hovering over the central staircase is The Sound, a 20m-long piece of silk scorched with gunpowder calligraphy that divides the lofty space in half. The two-dimensional art of calligraphy and painting is transformed into a poetic, spatial installation work filled with momentum. As viewers ascend the staircase, hovering overhead on the smooth white silk is a cautionary lyric from The Internationale: “There are no supreme saviors: neither God, nor tsar, nor hero!” By the time the words seem within reach, the visitor will have entered the White Room.
The ceiling of the White Room is covered with a silver mirror, extending the already expansive space. Two 20-meter-long gunpowder paintings, River and Garden, stretch along the facing walls that surround the installation Land in the center of the room. With this installation, created from nearly three million stalks of golden reeds, Cai hopes to recreate the sense of mystery found in the Soviet films and Russian paintings of his childhood: sunlight filtering through the clouds and shining on the wheat, and likewise projecting into an adolescent mind romantic ideas of freedom and the beauty of life. The symbols hidden within the crop circle of Land are only discernable in the reflection in the mirror overhead: hammer, sickle, and scattered five-pointed stars. Simultaneously reflected are the countless images of civilians embedded within the black-and-white River, the colorful poppies, carnations, and Soviet posters found in the fantastical Garden, and the viewers themselves. The inverted illusion leads viewers to reflect on their own relationships with the works.
The exhibition reaches its climax with the video projection October: Daytime Fireworks on Red Square. As the orchestral arrangement of Tchaikovsky sounds, daytime fireworks launch from Red Square and the Moskva riverbank, painting one image after another in the sky, each filled with somber sensibility. The performance concludes with one hundred seconds of earthshattering, thunderous explosions, leaving behind a blinding white flash.
Beginning on September 4, Cai worked with local volunteers on-site at VDNKh No.22 to ignite the gunpowder works River, The Sound and Garden. The volunteers laid out a river of history with one hundred photographs depicting the lives of ordinary people; they taught Cai to write Russian calligraphy, and etched out enormous stencils of flowers. After Cai ignited each work, they rushed in to extinguish the sparks remaining on canvas. Together with the artist, they experienced the moments of suspense prior to each explosion and witnessed the birth of each work.