Artist Cai Guo-Qiang built a ladder to heaven as a tribute to his grandmother & lit up the sky with a fiery show. For two and a half minutes, the sky was illuminated by a 1,650-foot-long ladder hovering above the city's harbor.
The Chinese-born craftsman may have just revealed his latest work for the world to view, but he’s been making strides in the art industry since the mid 80s. He became known for using gunpowder in his art to foster spontaneity and confront the suppressive, controlled artistic tradition and social climate of China.
As a teenager during the Cultural Revolution, Cai participated in demonstrations and witnessed explosions, cannon blasts, and celebratory fireworks regularly. Those childhood visuals inspired his work. Cai explored the properties of gunpowder in his drawings, an inquiry that eventually led to his experimentation with explosives on a massive scale and the development of his signature "explosion events".
In 1995, he moved to New York with a grant from the New York-based Asian Cultural Council, an international organization that promotes artistic exchanges between Asian countries and the United States.
The idea for his latest work came to life-after visiting Jerusalem and meeting a local rabbi that told Cai a story about how people want to be buried in the city's valley:
"Every evening, the tombs of the sages are lit one by one, and the lights illuminate the path in the valley. Before the Apocalypse, God will come to redeem mankind. Then a ladder will rise from the top of the hill, piercing through the clouds. Those buried here will be the first to climb up the ladder to heaven."
Thus, the Sky Ladder was born.
(via A Plus)