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Cai Guo-Qiang

Cai Guo-Qiang Life Beneath the Shadow
Exhibition 30 July — 25 September 2005

The Fruitmarket Gallery’s 2005 Edinburgh Festival Exhibition is the most ambitious solo presentation in the UK to date of work by Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang, known throughout the world for his large-scale, site-specific installations.

Life Beneath the Shadow, an exhibition in several parts, explored Edinburgh’s reputation for ghosts and ghost stories, seeking poetically to conjure spirits and make peace with them, uniting matter and spirit, present and past in an acknowledgement of the fragility of human life.

The exhibition opened with the dramatic explosion of an ominously beautiful black firework rainbow over Edinburgh Castle, marking the start of the 2005 Edinburgh Art Festival. Black Rainbow: Explosion Project for Edinburgh arched three times above Edinburgh’s most famous monument, and was made from over one thousand custom-made pyrotechnic shells designed to be seen in daylight. It was the second in a series of explosion events intended by the artist as a protest against the increased threat of violence under which we all live. The first took place in Valencia on 22 May this year, and a third is scheduled for Beijing in the autumn.

At The Fruitmarket Gallery, the exhibition began with a grove of living plantain trees planted in the downstairs gallery. The leaves of the trees are inscribed with fragments from written accounts of ghost sightings, sourced in association with Scottish writer James Robertson with whom Cai collaborated throughout the development of the exhibition.

Exhibition supported by The Henry Moore Foundation
Black Rainbow was supported by Albion, Edinburgh Art Festival and The Hope Scott Trust
Exhibition partner The National Galleries of Scotland

Download Resources

Exhibition Guide (word)

Related items

Exhibition Poster

Limited availability

This poster was designed by The Fruitmarket Gallery to support the Cai Guo-Qiang Life Beneath the Shadow exhibition which ran from 30 July — 25 September 2005.

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Fruitmarket Gallery Publication

Exquisite book from the artist with text by Booker Prize nominee James Robertson. An elegantly slipcased hardcover book featuring pictures of the renowned Chinese artist’s Black Rainbow project over Edinburgh Castle as well as images of the portraits created with gunpowder for the show.

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