Faurschou Art Books

Cai Guo-Qiang – A Clan of Boats

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Cai Guo-Qiang

Art book 002
A Clan of Boats


Luise Faurschou & Jens Faurschou

Cai Guo-Qiang has often stated that he has almost become a boat himself, as he constantly travels the world from exhibition to exhibition.

In the tradition of the great Chinese seafarers, Cai takes the gift of his art across the globe, towing collaborations, friendships and cross-cultural exchanges in his wake.

Cai is an international artist, whose art contributes to greater intercultural understanding by drawing on his own cultural background and Chinese philosophy as ballast in his site-specific and conceptual work. His 1995 Venice Biennale presentation, Bringing to Venice What Marco Polo Forgot is well-known: he sailed symbolically from East to West by navigating an old-fashioned fishing junk, brought from Quanzhou, along Venice’s Grand Canal. He filled the boat with what the Italian explorer had forgotten—the Eastern spirit embodied by Chinese herbal medicine.

This work is a fine example of the way Cai uses the boat as a central, recurring motif in his oeuvre to represent the exchange of knowledge through the journey across cultures. In these pages he speaks for the first time about the many works he has created with boats throughout the course of his artistic career.

Cai always works site-specifically, paying great attention to the location and culture in which he is working. He relates local elements to the religious, philosophical and aesthetic traditions, dating back several millennia in Chinese history, and with which he himself has grown up. Examples include Taoism, the teachings of fengshui tradition of living and furnishing in harmony with your surroundings, and other kinds of holistic thinking with cosmic implications. Cai has an intuitive feeling for space, and his large installations and performances always involve the viewer in a conceptual formal idiom with global relevance.

Over the last five years we have followed Cai’s work closely and accompanied him on his journeys to exhibitions in places such as New York, Beijing, Taipei, Shanghai, Nice (France), Donetsk (Ukraine), and Doha. For us, 2011 and 2012 have been a particularly special journey with Cai, after he agreed in 2010 to create the inaugural exhibition for Faurschou Foundation.

For years it has been our dream and vision to open an exhibition space based on our collection. In the course of the last quarter century, we have successfully run a gallery and collected art internationally. Now with Faurschou Foundation, we are devoting all our time, ability, and network to develop this collection.

The space acts as an open platform for artists, places art at the centre of attention, and gives us greater scope for in-depth study. We are motivated to mount exhibitions because art is capable of moving us, pushing us forward, shaking us up as viewers and giving us new ways of seeing the world.

Cai’s work balances an interest in global matters with a strong sense of his own place and roots, thereby contributing to a critically relevant and aesthetically intriguing discourse in contemporary art. He is one of the contemporary artists we admire the most, and we appreciate highly having his works in our collection. Therefore it was such a joy for us when Cai accepted the invitation to make the inaugural show for Faurschou Foundation.

During the preparations for A Clan of Boats, we gave him complete artistic freedom with our exhibition space and invited him to either create new works or involve some of his works from our collection. To our great delight he chose to use Denmark’s historical and cultural relationship with the sea and the Danish landscape as main themes. In this light we were thrilled that the exhibition included three elements: from our collection, Reflection—A Gift from Iwaki, a central work in his oeuvre; new gunpowder drawings made on site, all of which take their starting point in Danish culture, nature and history; and finally an exciting explosion event for the opening.

In the past year we have provided Cai with information about Denmark, and he now has an extensive library on Denmark and Danish culture in his New York studio. When he came to Denmark weeks before the opening, we went together to northern Jutland, where he saw Thy and the North Sea. We visited among others the fishermen of Thorup, where we were brought closer to a living piece of Danish history: a landscape that has remained unchanged for centuries, and a community of people who still sail in boats built on principles that go back to the boatbuilding traditions of the Vikings. Later we visited the Deer Park in Jægersborg Hegn, where Cai wished to see the ancient oaks that stand there as they did in the Viking Age, and a forest that has supplied wood for many a stout ship. And finally, we ended with a voyage in a Viking ship on Roskilde Fjord with a good wind in a full sail.

With the help of many volunteers, this Danish journey was memorialized a week later with one of the violent, uncontrollable explosions of gunpowder that Cai is a master of manipulating, taming, and recording on paper. Gigantic landscapes—snapshots of the moment. A piece of Denmark interpreted by Cai Guo-Qiang.

Seeing our own culture and history through the eyes of a foreigner has made us aware of the cultural distinctiveness and beauty of our own country, but first and foremost it has been a fantastic experience to witness how Cai—in collaboration with volunteers, the local community, assistants, and friends—succeeds in transforming a mundane, everyday occurrence into something entirely new and magical in his art. His insight and vision will surely expand our intercultural understanding.

Thank you, Cai, for creating this remarkable opening exhibition at Faurschou Foundation.

What we had envisioned in our dreams, you have realized.

It has been a unique journey, and as you said to us just before you travelled on into the world: “The journey has just begun!”

Our thanks go to all of you who have helped us, with a quite unique spirit of solidarity and cooperation, in realizing this great project. It has been a privilege to work with your commitment and goodwill. Every one of you has been essential, and we humbly thank you.

A Clan of Boats

Jannie Haagemann

Since early childhood, Cai has held a special fascination with boats, a familiar symbol he grew up with in the harbour city of Quanzhou. Once the largest port in the world, Quanzhou is home to the streams that young Cai used to play in, building toy boats out of tin cans and origami. Boats appear constantly in his oeuvre, and throughout his career he has made numerous works with them. He sees boats as cultural vessels that connect people and places, and the cultural exchanges between Asia and the West have often been a focal point in many of his works. For Cai the boat is even a vehicle connecting the earth and the universe. Many of his works with boats are thus suspended in midair, where they float poetically like airships; others carry lanterns on their skybound journey. Throughout his repertoire the boat has often been used as a symbol for travel across borders, time zones, mentalities, and galaxies—connecting the past and the future, and combining tra-ditional elements like water, fire, earth, wood, and metal.1 Cai has explained that one of his artistic quests has been to defy gravity, and that he intends to use art to go beyond the constraints of the material world.2 This is also the reason that he has always related to dreamers and inventors who aim to escape the realms of everyday life by attempting to take flight.3 

Cai’s approach often comes from a global rather than a regional point of view, contextualizing our worldly issues and conflicts to that of the universe. Beginning in the late 1980s, he devised many spectacular large-scale outdoor explosion events in his Projects for Extra-terrestrials series, in which he sought to construct conversations between what he calls “the seen and unseen worlds.”4 Like an alchemist, he uses gunpowder made out of basic natural ingredients such as saltpetre, sulphur, and charcoal to defy our earth-bound gravity, to then transcend the material, and to ultimately enter the immaterial.

The explosion events take root from Chinese geomancy, building on the principles of fengshui and the harmony between humankind and their surroundings through the flow of energy, . For Cai, explosions are transformative forces releasing , bringing forth the exchange in material and spirit. In Taoist philosophy, is an active flow that is part of all living things. The process of destruction is a transition from existence to non-existence; as one material is destroyed, another is created.

When Cai saw for the first time the not-yet-renovated warehouse—where Faurschou Foundation now resides—in the Free Port area of Copenhagen, naturally the harbour, the sea, and the boats immediately caught his attention. Consisting of many islands, Denmark has a very long coastline compared to the size of the country, resulting in its close connection to the sea historically and culturally. Denmark is one of the world’s leading seafaring nations, and the Free Port is still an active container port—now also characterized by a new type of vessels, the large cruise ships that dock in the harbour during summer. 

Faurschou Foundation’s location in Copenhagen port allowed Cai to revisit his numerous works related to boats, which he refers to as his “children,” and thus the exhibition title A Clan of Boats. Among them is Reflection—A Gift from Iwaki (2004), the exhibition’s centrepiece that is also a part of the foundation’s collection. This remarkable wreck is set in dialogue with Freja (2012), a traditional Danish dinghy that Cai studded with thousands of mini-rockets for the outdoor explosion event ignited on the opening night of Faurschou Foundation. Like phoenix the firebird, the trajectory of the mini-rockets formed a pair of wings as if the boat were taking off, in front of a backdrop of an ever-changing landscape of shipping containers and steadily spinning wind turbines. The burned boat was subsequently moved into the gallery and suspended from the ceiling, and the scorch marks from the explosion transformed it into a three-dimensional gunpowder drawing. A Clan of Boats thus revisits several prominent themes in Cai’s work, such as the ocean, voyages, and cross-cultural encounters, and this catalogue presents a recounting by the artist of his fascination with boats since his youth, along with descriptions of all boat-related works throughout his artistic journey.



Before exhibiting at some of the most prestigious museums in the world, Cai held his first solo exhibition in the Western world in Denmark. When Louisiana Museum of Modern Art presented Flying Dragon in the Heavens in 1997, Cai stayed at the museum’s boathouse for over a month. There, he was first exposed to the long and cold Scandinavian winter, and developed an interest in Viking culture and history. To brainstorm the theme for an exhibition, Cai undertakes thorough research, his studio a scatter of trolleys of books for each upcoming project. Part of the collection came from Faurschou Foundation, with many books on Danish history, Copenhagen, the harbour, Danish nature, and the Vikings.

The other half of Cai’s close study occurred on site in Denmark. A visit in the summer of 2011 to the Viking Ship Museum on the Roskilde Fjord had inspired Cai to construct a conversation between Reflection—A Gift from Iwaki, Viking shipbuilding methods, and the Danish landscape. In August 2012, three weeks before the opening of A Clan of Boats, he explored the terrain of northern Jutland after examining National Park Thy, a book the Foundation had sent for his reference. The harsh wind from the North Sea marks the sandy landscape there, where the lyme grass prevails. The strong wind, the reflected sunlight, and the dramatic clouds in the vast palescent sky remain an impressive sight for Cai, since the scenery remains wholly foreign to his southeast China upbringing.5 

Cai made a stop at Hansted Kirke in Hanstholm, a church commemorating those lost at sea and giving seafarers blessing. Here he was mesmerised by the Danish tradition of hanging ship models from the church ceiling. He also visited some of the bunkers along the shore built by German troops during World War II.6

A meeting was set up with Professor Thomas Højrup, an ethnologist at the University of Copenhagen, and an authority on Nordic traditions of boat building and seafaring. He took Cai to Thorup Strand on the west coast of Jutland, the only place where they still beach the fishing boats instead of docking them, continuing the Viking practice that resulted in the rapid raiding and trading round the coastline of Europe. Professor Højrup also brought Cai to his boatbuilding workshop at Slettestrand, where he and a small team keep alive the old craftsmanship of building boats by hand.7  

Revisiting the Viking Ship Museum, Cai decided to try his hand at sailing on the Roskilde Fjord, in one of the replicated wooden boats using Viking shipbuilding techniques. Fortunately it was a breezy day, and as soon as the sail was hoisted, the ship picked up speed to the delight of everyone on board. Halfway up the fjord, the crew was greeted by a group of young children effortlessly riding on the gentle afternoon wind and manipulating the sails of their Optimist-brand dinghies. “This is a Danish kindergarten,” the skipper joked. Indeed, much of Danish daily life roots in the fact that the country borders the sea on all sides.

The information collected from Professor Højrup and the Viking Ship Museum brought Cai to Jægersborg Hegn, a forest north of Copenhagen where centuries-old oaks stand tall. He learned about the original purpose of the trees, cultivated for an invincible fleet, and how to choose the perfect tree for such a purpose. Nearby in the Jægersborg Dyrehave (Deer Park), a horse-drawn carriage ride showed the artist herds of deer grazing peacefully in what was once the royal hunting ground.



The experiences from Cai’s local excursions culminated in the gunpowder drawings that fill the gallery space, produced entirely on site with the assistance of 79 local volunteers. Drawing from his travels around Denmark, Cai created three large landscapes; Svinkløv Sand Dune, Nordic Harbour, Oak Grove, and a number of smaller works inspired by sea, boats, forest, and some as a tribute to the famous Nordic painter Edvard Munch. People of all ages and professions, many artists or art students, gathered in Copenhagen from all over Denmark, some originally from places as diverse as Sweden, Germany, Spain, Tanzania, Canada, and Taiwan. Over the course of ten days, they worked closely together, cutting out cardboard stencils of the artist’s design. Their input gives the drawings another layer of Danish character, since it weaves together a narrative of Denmark’s past history and present landscape. 

Hours passed in tranquility, with the volunteers chatting quietly while drawing and cutting out stencils and templates, as Cai worked on the off-white Japanese hemp paper by sprinkling gunpowder on both the paper and the stencils. Cai has been making gunpowder drawings for years, and he masters the different effects produced by various grades of gunpowder in the same way that a painter would with paint. Then fuses were strategically placed to ignite the gunpowder on the paper before the entire composition was covered with layers of glassine paper and cardboard. The main fuse was lit, and a few seconds later the entire drawing exploded, with flames, sparks, and smoke coming out from the edges of the cardboard, clouding the room up to the ceiling.



Many of Cai’s projects could not have been executed without the aid of volunteers, and often his work engages an entire community. One of his earliest and longest collaborations was with the people he met in Iwaki, a small coastal city in Fukushima prefecture, Japan, where he lived from 1993 to 1994. The people of Iwaki provided Cai tremendous support in the early years of his career, their friendship beginning with his The Horizon from the Pan-Pacific: Project for Extraterrestrials No. 14 (1994), a five-kilometre long explosion event on the Pacific Ocean. It required the help of the Coast Guard patrol boats to close off the waterways of several nearby fishing villages, and a large muster of volunteers to help raise funds. 

Cai’s relation with Iwaki and its people revolves around boats. For his first solo exhibition at the Iwaki City Art Museum in 1994, the locals helped him excavate an old wooden fishing boat beached at Iwaki. Cai transformed this boat into two works: Kaikou—The Keel (Returning Light—The Dragon Bone) and San Jõ Tower. In 2004 his friends from Iwaki excavated another hull and gave it to Cai as a gift to celebrate the tenth anniversary of their friendship and first collaboration. This boat then became part of Reflection—A Gift from Iwaki, included in Cai’s exhibition at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery: the National Museum of Asian Art at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 

The fifteen-metre-long skeleton of the wreck is filled with a heap of broken white porcelain that flows over from the inside of the boat and out onto the floor. The pile of porcelain consists of broken statuettes of Buddhist Avalokitesvara, also known as bodhisattva of compassion, or Guanyin in Chinese. Manufactured in Dehua, a region in Quanzhou famous for producing blanc-de-Chine, it was a popular export to Europe in the Ming dynasty (1368–1644 CE).8

The snow-white porcelain shimmers in the light, and the entire installation evokes a sunken ship filled with treasure and alludes to other cultural and historical objects lost under the sea. It reflects the destructive power of time, and the inherent beauty brought out by its passage. As with other works, Cai references the history of cultural and commercial trade between Asia and the West, and Chinese philosophy and tradition, filtered through the structures of conceptual art.

Reflection—A Gift from Iwaki has since travelled to various museums in the world, including the National Gallery of Canada in Shawnigan, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum New York, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, and the Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain in Nice. Each time, the team of Iwaki volunteers has joined Cai to re-install the iconic work, accompanying the twelve-ton boat and nine tons of broken porcelain on the globetrotting journey. This time in Copenhagen, Cai’s friends Fujita Chuhei, Kanno Yoshio, Nawa Makoto, Ono Kazuo, Shiga Tadashige, Shiga Takemi, and Shinagawa Yuji—along with the aid of local art handlers—worked tirelessly and in high spirits to put the large installation together in five days, starting out each morning with a calisthenics routine. Their long-lasting friendship with Cai is just as prominent in the work as the visual presentation. Like him, they come from a small fishing village and now travel the world together.

This is also the reason that Cai has been very engaged in the cherry blossom tree-planting project the friends initiated in Iwaki, since the Fukushima prefecture was hit hard by the earthquake and tsunami of 2011.

Now in Copenhagen, Reflection—A Gift from Iwaki nests quietly in the centre of A Clan of Boats, surrounded by Freja, the drawings, and its own reflection in the mirror flooring. The silver mirror enhances the dreaminess of the universe created in the gallery, feeding the viewers’ curiosity, desire, and wonder.

The French philosopher Michel Foucault describes the boat as a heterotopia—a place that is not a place. A boat is at once a physical object rocking on the sea and shaped by centuries-old traditions, and a home harbouring our expectations: 

[…] the boat is a floating piece of space, a place without a place, that exists by itself, that is closed in on itself and at the same time is given over to the infinity of the sea […] the boat has not only been for our civilization, from the sixteenth century until the present, the great instrument of economic development […] but has been simultaneously the greatest reserve of the imagination. The ship is the heterotopia par excellence. In civilizations without boats, dreams dry up, espionage takes the place of adventure, and the police take the place of pirates.9

Cai’s boats therefore capture this heterogeneity of physical presence and dreamlike narrative.



1 In Buried Civilization (1993) Cai combined past and future and Chinese traditional elements by filling a wooden boat with replicas of iconic ancient cultural objects from different civilizations, including modern day ones, e.g. real computer chips. The boat was then buried underground with a layer of clay on the outside. After the work had been set on fire, the wood turned into ashes, while the outer clay became terracotta. The burnt boat is buried underground, as if for our successors eventually to excavate.
2 Jeffrey Deitch, “A Ladder to the Sky,” in Cai Guo-Qiang: Ladder to the Sky, Jeffrey Deitch and Rebecca Morse eds. (Los Angeles:The Museum of
Contemporary Art, and New York: DelMonico Books – Prestel, 2012), 9.
3 In his exhibition Peasant da Vincis (2010), Cai presented a series of submarines, flying machines, robots, and other devices created by Chinese peasants.
For the exhibition, he traveled all over China and collected these objects constructed out of scrap materials.
Bonnie Huie, I-Hua Lee, Mona Chen, and Yingjiu Liu, eds., Cai Guo-Qiang: Peasant da Vincis. Guilin: Guangxi Normal University Press, 2010.
4 Sky Ladder (2012), Cai’s solo show at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, focused on his Projects for Extraterrestrials that go back to the very
beginning of his artistic career, such as Fetus Movement II: Project for Extraterrestrials No. 9 (1991) and Project to Extend the Great Wall of China by 10,000 Meters: Project for Extraterrestrials No. 10 (1993).
5 Kelly Ma, “Sojourn to Jutland,” Cai Guo-Qiang Studio blog, October 11, 2012,
6 Ibid.
7 Ibid.
8 Michelle Yun, “Reflection—A Gift from Iwaki, 2004,” In Cai Guo-Qiang: I Want to Believe, Thomas Krens and Alexandra Munroe, eds. (New York: Guggenheim Museum Publications, 2008), 214.
9 Michel Foucault, “Of Other Spaces”, in Diacritics, Vol. 16, No.1, (1986) 27.

Cai Guo-Qiang and the art of quoting culture 1 

Karen Smith


Since his first endeavours as an artist, Cai Guo-Qiang has played with fire. He has made artworks that are alive, albeit for a fleeting instant in the physical world, but that leave indelible traces on paper, on the retina and, for those skilful enough to capture it, on film. He does this using gunpowder. Increasingly, the powder is applied with consummate skill to vast expanses of thick paper to create what the artist terms a “drawing.” But the work is considered by many to be the ignition and the firecracker explosion it triggers. In this sense, Cai’s art has given a whole new meaning to the term ephemeral. Oh, but in the course of those few fleeting seconds it takes for a work to explode against the sky, or implode as with the method used to etch drawings onto paper, there is so much for a spectator to enjoy. “Bang! Bang! Bang!” A slowly disseminating puff of smoke; there and then gone almost in the blink of an eye. It is this brilliance that colours the experience viewers carry away with them from Cai’s performative gunpowder works—along with a sulphurous burst that clings to the deepest recesses of the nasal passages and is the least charming attribute of his work. But that is quickly forgotten in the residual glow of the explosion, which lingers in the mind’s eye like the tail of a comet, the diamond glow of an eclipse, the ghost of a firefly. Not all of Cai’s works are explosive in a literal sense, but those that are leave a disproportionately deep impression on the people who witness them.

Yet, as attendance figures for I Want To Believe, Cai’s 2008 blockbuster solo exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York show, there is a good audience appreciation for his often theatrical installations too. Installations provide an experience for the visitor at a more measured pace, the possibility of revisiting the experience, too, and retaining a deeper impression than of brightly coloured light. In this exhibition, A Clan of Boats, Cai provides a space for reflection, literally as well as in a metaphysical sense.



A Clan of Boats is a physical, as opposed to an ephemeral, project, the accent on objects rather than fireworks. The concept was inspired by the proximity of the Faurschou Foundation’s new space to Copenhagen’s harbour and the Danish, Nordic culture of boats and sailing. As extrapolation, this invokes the relationship of this port city to other similar port cities via the sea, and the linking of the gateways that provide a route outwards and return home for those carried on the waves of whatever sea laps at their shore. Here, those waves are the icy waters of the Baltic Sea upon which Copenhagen sits, although, where Denmark is part of the Nordic triumvirate that makes Scandinavia, Copenhagen is also close by the northern seas, which roll out north and westwards through the islands and fjords that surround Denmark, Sweden and Norway. On this occasion, Cai has drawn his cultural quotations from Nordic culture, itself a rich resource of historic associations with Vikings, as the ancient seafaring raiders from this part of the world are known to history, and the mysteries surrounding their once mighty clans. The mystery is tied to a pantheon of pagan Nordic gods, who remain in the contemporary consciousness for several lent their names to a day of the week as spoken in English—Tuesday named for Tyr; Woden who gave his name to Wednesday; Thursday is named after the god of thunder Thor; the goddess Freja (Frigg)gave her name to Friday. There is, too, a repository of tales that, in true comic-strip hero fashion, circulate around the great sea voyages; the quests, the raids and invasions. There is also the mystic writing system developed by the various tribes of the Nordic cultures, based on graphemes not dissimilar to early Chinese pictograms, and that are known as runes. Unlike Chinese pictograms, each rune actually has an alphabetic function as well as a hieroglyphic one—there are variously twenty-four reduced to sixteen for different periods of history—and thus are both the language in which the tales of gods and heroes were first articulated and, following the function of prophetic oracles, for they were consulted on all auspicious occasions including before battles or voyages, runes were also the authority by which the events of its history were directed. Most of all, there are the Viking warriors—viking meaning either raider or pirate in the Norse tongue—who were everything from adventurer to invader, warmonger to marauder depending on which moment in history is examined. I learned in early school history lessons that back in the eighth century “a new people (Viking Danes) began to visit our shores (Britain). They were seamen unlike any we had ever seen, and raiders so skilled they took whatever they wanted and fled before our warriors could catch them.”3 

But whilst the image of pillage and plunder has proved most enduring, like any people possessed of the means to travel in that dark age, the Norsemen were keen to extend both their wealth and their power by trade, even if, at times, that was largely one way of their taking whatever they wanted. By the ninth century, they had ventured deep into the Russian landmass via its extensive inland waterways to ply their wares, returning with treasures acquired in foreign lands found in the eastern part of Europe.

From the coastal city of Quanzhou, Cai grew up gazing out across the waters off the shores of China’s eastern seaboard. In terms of his immediate cultural framework, folklore spoke of the sea in terms of a route for migrants, occasionally refugees, and of trading and exchange. Quanzhou had been one of the first significant port cities in China; a significance that its historians like to compare to that of the great Egyptian port of Alexandria (founded in the third century BC). As Norsemen headed into the Russian waterways in the ninth century, Quanzhou welcomed the gentler Indian, Persian and Arab sailors (from the Middle East) who secured this maritime silk route, dominating it almost to the fifteenth century, when imperial invaders, rather than the straightforward traders they claimed themselves to be, began to arrive from Europe. The comparison to the port of Alexandria was inspired by the degree of fame accrued to Quanzhou through the Song dynasty (960-1279), and which continued on to the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368): an era when “ships’ masts (were) as numerous as trees in a forest, merchants gathered like clouds, and Chinese and foreign goods accumulated as high as mountains.“4

To give a sense of the cultural diversity of Quanzhou’s history, the local Museum of Overseas Relations contains myriad objects and artefacts from a variety of religions, most important-ly Islam, but also Nestorian Christian and various religions from India. It also contains rare examples of China’s maritime history. In 1973, a seafaring junk, dating to the thirteenth century, was recovered from a thick bed of mud just off the Quanzhou shore, where it had sunk in the late Song dynasty. It was thus named the Quanzhou Wreck. At the moment of its recovery, Cai was an impressionable fifteen-year-old, but the discovery of this particular junk would have impressed anyone, for it was the first of its kind to be returned to Chinese shores and affirmed the impressive volume of trading in an era long passed. Aboard the wreck was a hoard of (local) copper coins, some “minted during the Southern Song (ca.1127-1279).“5  In addition, there were “5,000 pounds of fragrant wood … cowry shells, ambergris, cinnabar, betel nuts, pepper and tortoise shell,“6  sourced from across Asia. And then there were the remains of what are assumed to be supplies, provisions for the crew, and tools and objects in daily service. 

Significantly, too, the wreck provided invaluable physical evidence of shipbuilding techniques of its time, i.e., the late Song dynasty, and of many other aspects of daily life, through the richness of its cargo. The ship was almost thirty-five metres long and ten metres wide. Today we know that China’s shipbuilding techniques were impressive, but in 1973, “the archaeology of the Quanzhou ship presented evidence of an ocean-going commercial vessel comparable in size to the largest known European merchant ships of its time.“7 Other sources describe it as “vastly ahead of European ships of the same period, with features like the transom stern, axial rudder, its carrying capacity, and multiple masts, which did not come into use in Europe until the mid-15th century.“8  When China embarked upon a brief period of ocean travel in the fifteenth century, the great sea-faring admiral Zheng He (1371-1433) led what was then the largest fleet in the world. It must have caused a stir: imagine giant four-hundred-foot, nine-masted junks heading out to sea, at a time when the largest of Vasco da Gama’s ships was only a hundred feet in length. The Quanzhou Wreck showed evidence of only three masts, but it remains an impressive work of nautical engineering and design.

Thus, Cai claims a personal relationship with the sea and with boats that reaches back, in essence, to his childhood. “I grew up in a port town, then left China, and I have not stopped travelling from one country to another ever since,” he recalled in 2000. “In a sense, the boat is a metaphor for this constant displacement. However, I am also passionate about the very form of the boat.”9

Cai left China in December 1986, to voyage to Japan—by air, though, not by boat—to begin his career as an artist. He took his fascination with boats with him, not just to Japan, but as a companion on his non-stop travels as an artist. One might say that the boat has become a recurring visual metaphor for the sense of displacement he discerned as being part of an international artist’s career. It was in Japan in 1993 that the form of a boat made its debut in his work. In that year, Cai was invited to participate in a site-specific workshop project in Shigaraki, home to some of Japan’s most ancient pottery kilns, and still famed for its distinctively earthy Shigaraki ware. It was there that he produced two works related to boats under the project title Buried Civilization. The main work was named Field Firings and took the form of a half-buried wreck filled with replicas of artefacts from different ancient cultures. Similar to the thick claggy layer of mud which had preserved the Quanzhou Wreck, Cai’s boat appeared to be half-consumed by the earth, similar in form to the kind of vessel children model from sand on the beach. This boat, however, was distinct from the mud-earth by virtue of being constructed from wood. The wooden structure together with its assembly of artefacts was razed as part of the process, creating the “field firing” of the title. After it had been set ablaze—“baptised by fire,” the artist explained10—all that remained was a skeletal imprint in the earth, which imbued the wreck with the aura of an archaeological find. In this way, the audience was drawn into the illusion of having stumbled across an archaeological dig: its prize this fossilised boat hull suffused with an aura of history that tantalised the imagination. After a period of ten days for public exhibition, Cai’s wreck, complete with its “cargo” of ancient artefacts, was buried beneath the earth, further concealed beneath a layer of grass turf, and left to wait quietly until such time as it might be rediscovered in the future.

The second piece for the Shigaraki project took the form of a small reductive vessel, primitively fashioned from an earthy blend of local clay. It contained two small figurines, one of a man and one of a horse. At once humble and earnest, this assembly of elements had the practical feel of a funerary votive offering, itself representing a pyre embarked upon a journey to the underworld. As with many similar objects that guide our knowledge of such practices centuries later today, this miniature assemblage appeared to have been part of the cargo on the wreck in the field, brought back from the afterlife, to serve as much a reminder of a spiritual realm as of another time and place—it was, however, created as the maquette of the half-buried field boat. This early approach to pairing site and object, manipulating them to a new meaning, reflects Cai’s interest in “quoting culture” wherever he might be. Many of the elements deployed in Shigaraki continue to contribute to those poetic citations: fire, transmutation through heat and flame, processes of uncovering and discovering which are often embodied in images of motion, i.e., the boat, and the specific nature of a site where an exhibition is to be held or new commissions are undertaken.

The centrepiece for A Clan of Boats is the installation Reflection—A Gift from Iwaki, which is now part of the Faurschou Foundation collection. The boat at the centre of this installation travelled far from the east coast of Japan, facing the Pacific Ocean, to arrive at this time and place on the east coast of Denmark. In its present form, the work dates to 2004, but the concept for this artwork can also be traced back to 1994, when, at Cai’s behest, the wreck of a similar hull and keel were reclaimed from their resting place at Iwaki in Fukushima prefecture. Again, in common with the Quanzhou Wreck, the original Iwaki boat had beached and then lain, abandoned, until Cai recovered it. Its early voyages remain a mystery, although before the unknown circumstances that caused it to be wrecked, it is likely that the boat served as a fishing trawler. Cai retains photographs of the excavation of a first wreck on the beach at Iwaki, which show him, excited and proud as the recovery progresses. There are notably more images of this process than of the recovered wreck’s presentation as an artwork, on site in Iwaki in 1994, as part of Cai’s solo exhibition Cai Guo-Qiang: From the Pan-Pacific that was held at Iwaki City Art Museum. For this presentation, the hull and keel were shored up with sturdy wooden posts and juxtaposed with containers holding nine tons of salt and cured fish. To highlight the fragmented yet strong, delicate yet enduring character of the components, Cai gave the first recovered wreck the poetic name Kaikou—The Keel (Returning Light—The Dragon Bone). 

Reflection—A Gift from Iwaki, the boat presented in Copenhagen, is similar yet different. This too was excavated by the locals in Iwaki, a decade later in 2004. It was sent to the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the recovery of the hull and keel of the original boat used for Kaikou—The Keel. Cai named the commemorative wreck Reflection—A Gift from Iwaki. The work has been seen in many museums around the world since, and its various displays have included the use of additional materials such as nine tons of porcelain—one Cai particularly liked. The current incarnation in Copenhagen locates the hull at the centre of a sea of reflective material. The cool timbre of the materials conjures an echo of cold, at times dangerous water. One is reminded of the sinking of the Titanic, which marked its centenary last year, and which is itself an enduring, universal metaphor for all dramatic wrecks at sea. It also subtly conjures the image of the Scandinavian creation myth which relates the beginning of life as the meeting of two worlds, one of fire, Muspelheim, and one of ice, Niflheim. When these two atmospheres collided the world was ignited. Taking a cue from the title, we find in Reflection—A Gift From Iwaki much that resonates in the nature of its “reflection.”

If in Cai’s own words, the boat represents an important metaphor for displacement, it is also an evocation of movement, adventure, the unknown, discovery and, even perhaps, ultimate enlightenment. From his childhood, as he looked out from the Quanzhou shores across the Strait to Taiwan, Cai had an awareness of other places that made him wonder about the world that existed “out there.” This was perhaps referenced in his project for the 1997 Istanbul Biennial entitled The Other Shore, for which the artist made a simple performance on the shores of the Bosphorous, during which he skimmed stones across the waves. 

The Bosphorous is described as the dividing line between Asia and Europe, which might represent a divide between two worlds, East and West, and between old and new, the East now owning title to the newness that was once the exclusive purview of America. But the aura of The Other Shore is of Cai recalling a boyhood dream as he skimmed stones from the Quanzhou shores, echoed here in Istanbul so far from home, on other shores entirely. In that simple act, he revealed the complexity attached to fulfilling a simple dream, born of the challenges of adapting to the constant displacement that accompanies the career of any successful artist as they accept invitations to journey from one continent to another to present their work. Given the degree of Cai’s success, his travels are almost without pause. 

In the course of his artistic journeying, Cai has periodically found himself returned to his native shores. During these visits, he took time to explore Quanzhou’s Museum of Overseas Relations with its ancient, now exotic exhibits.  He found its contents inspiring, particularly the wreck and the relics of its rich cargo. Cai chose a similar junk to be transported from Quanzhou to Venice as the main part of the work that represented him at his debut in the Biennale in 1995.  For the event, the junk was assigned the task of Bringing to Venice What Marco Polo Forgot; an appropriate quotation of the cultural history that linked Cai to Venice, and an example of the infinitesimal degrees of separation between all nations, peoples, and cultures, if we but scratch the surface. The junk used for the project was distinctive, especially its dark-coloured, fan-shaped sail and the small wooden stool on the upper deck upon which Cai, its artist-skipper, sat as, in his words, the junk “entered the canals of Venice like a UFO.” 11 It did not appear quite as alien to the surroundings, among those local gondolas on the Venetian canals, as these words suggest. Junks have several features in common with the flat-bottomed Venetian boats that have plied the canals for centuries. The main distinctive property of Cai’s “UFO” was its cargo of various ingredients for and readymade forms of Chinese medicine, those being distinctly alien to Venetian traditions, and which Cai offered as a health tonic for any visitors to the Biennale who wished to partake.

Boats, or boat-shaped metaphors, subsequently reappeared in Cai’s work at regular intervals. In 1998, he produced an installation entitled Borrowing Your Enemy’s Arrows, a phrase taken from an historic legend about the brilliant strategist Zhuge Liang (181-234). The phrase “borrowing your enemy’s arrows” describes an inventive solution Zhuge Liang brought to finding himself in a tight spot on the battlefield. Low on ammunition, he duped the enemy into handing over theirs, by fooling its soldiers into attacking empty vessels that had been cunningly disguised as Zhuge Liang’s army. Cai’s boat was presented as the vehicle, that had been used to borrow the arrows—its hull thus pierced by almost 3,000 iron-tipped, flighted shafts. The ensemble was topped with a miniature Chinese flag, triumphant yet somehow childishly small, that waved impetuously in the breeze created by an integrated electric fan. Having chosen to quote Zhuge Liang’s strategy might suggest that Cai was celebrating (as does the story) the use of wit but, as we know from how the legend ends, the arrows that Zhuge Liang amassed were used to decimate his enemy. Borrowing Your Enemy’s Arrows was thus a reminder that all violent engagement ends in casualties and  the loss of life; how foolish it is to pretend otherwise.

In 2001, Cai used another boat for The Eagle Has Arrived! This time the boat was upturned, with its double flank of oars sticking out from its sides, making it appear that the boat was flailing for balance as it rests precariously on a multitude of upright spears. For Europeans (Westerners) the title seems to reference the 1976 World War II thriller by author Jack Higgins, The Eagle Has Landed, which describes, in highly plausible but fictional terms, a Nazi plot to kidnap Winston Churchill and take control of Europe’s future course. Had that “plot” succeeded, according to Higgins’ narrative, Churchill would have been spirited away by boat, and the course of European history through the second half of the twentieth century altered entirely. Gazing upon the European Union flag, which flutters somewhat impotently above the inverted and down-at-heel boat, the visitor wondered, was that to be the interpretation of The Eagle Has Arrived!?

Or was there another message here? We also know that America’s astronaut Neil Armstrong used similar words in 1969 to mark his arrival on the moon. “The eagle has landed” referenced the planting of the U.S. flag and dominion over a new territory. Was this a reference to China’s growing fascination with space—as demonstrated recently with the launch of the Shenzhou 9 with its first woman astronaut—against Europe’s lack of interest in such otherworldly programmes? Or, as China joined the World Trade Organization at the end of 2001, creating a new bilateral juxtaposition of China and the United States, was Cai in 2001, in The Eagle Has Arrived!, perceptively pointing to the coming shape of the world, in which Europe appears to be stranded, high and dry, loyal to its old ways, thus decrepit? How much more prescient this seems today, as Europe falters in the wake of ongoing economic crises, that the European Flag raised above “the Eagle” feels almost like an SOS, a call for both attention and aid?

Of course, in the simplest terms, the title referenced a previous work The Dragon Has Arrived!, shown at the Venice Biennale in 1997, the origins of which also lay in a boat; the San Jõ Tower, created from outer parts of the boat recovered at Iwaki in 1994, exhibited then in Iwaki City Art Museum, then shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (MOT) a year later under the title The Orient (San Jõ Tower). When The Orient travelled to the Venice Biennale and became The Dragon Has Arrived!, the statement sounds more like a tongue-in-cheek reference to the artist himself as much as to the formal qualities the work had now attained; as if he was saying, “Here I am, back for the second year running. Do I have your attention?” 

There has been a succession of more light-hearted references to boats in Cai’s works, too. Dragon Boat, created in 1999, and suspended high above the viewers, was laden with bright Chinese red lanterns paralleling a row of red oars on either side. This theatrical spectacle was in keeping with the Dragon Boat’s site, which was a theatre foyer. The image of bright lights in the darkness also alluded to the exhilaration of his firework projects. Then, in 2001, Cai presented An Arbitrary History: River, which invited the visitor to “mess around on the river.”12 The installation used resin and bamboo to construct a watercourse upon which yak skin and wooden boats could travel. Delighted visitors launched themselves around the meandering route in whichever way the exhibition space permitted.

The tremendous success of this piece with audiences around the world derives from the human love of water and, of course, of voyaging by boat. Cai has described a boat as “the first form of human construction. The first time man built dwellings (cabins), he was also building boats, which were just an upside down roof. In this sense, when you are looking at a boat you are also looking at a house. In every culture, the form of the house brings with it a set of specific features, and the same goes for boats. This is why I am not aiming to build a boat from A to Z but to retrieve and recycle its form.”13

In trying to imagine what aspects of Nordic culture Cai might quote for this exhibition project, I found myself returning to visions I have carried with me since my childhood, from a personal fascination with stories of the Norse gods, and the pagan rites of those fearsome Norsemen, who buried their dead at sea on burning boats pushed out from the shore, the distinctive shape of their high-prow’d craft silhouetted against the dark night as flames consumed the heroes and warrior kings of this fearless people. Off they drifted into the dark, those grand funereal barges, to sink into the arms of the sea: that cold, brooding body of icy water. Is it any wonder that the sea has inspired such a tremendous volume of folk songs handed down from generation to generation by peoples native to the far northern landscapes of Western Europe?

Even in the most gentle of harbours, the sea is a master of its own will and motion. As Cai himself knows, all bodies of water are an unpredictable force of nature. Cai’s work with boats has not all been straightforward. In 1999, he was in Australia for his second time at the Asia Pacific Triennial in Brisbane. His project, the Blue Dragon, comprised ninety-nine aluminium boats linked together to form a long chain, which was to be pulled by a motorboat to glide across and down the river. Each boat was filled with liquid alcohol burning at a low temperature to produce the desired ultraviolet blue flame. Cai had first experimented with this delicious blue light as part of a project entitled Blue Cross: Prescription for Art Museum shown in the Netherlands in 1994. It had been a great success, but had alerted him to the need for perfect darkness to achieve the full effect of blue against black night. Cai timed the project to take place in the evening so that the flame would make a magnificent contrast with the inky black night sky. ”As guests left Queensland Art Gallery and walked along the river,” Cai explained, “they would see a long, quiet line of bluish glowing light winding down the river.” 14

“After discussions with experts, it was agreed that the last boat should have some kind of device to keep it from tipping over,” he wrote later. “Since the boats were linked together, if one overturned, the rest would follow. A keel was installed at the back of the last boat for balance, but somehow, it got bent out of shape. No one realised this at the time.” 15 It was to be his “Titanic.”

“On the evening of the event, we set the boats on the river. The chain [the ’dragon’] stretched over 100 metres in length.” 16 At first, everything went well, but then the last boat capsized and sank, taking all ninety-eight boats down with it one by one. From where Cai was, on the motorboat at the head of the dragon, together with his family and people from the museum, “It was an awesome sight. As each boat was pulled down, it rose up like a tombstone then slowly sank, dragging the next boat with it in the same manner. Within two minutes the dark water had swallowed them all.”17 No one in the audience saw it. “Everyone else waited in the cold for forty minutes, but no dragon arrived that night.”18 

We might think of the 2002 project, 99 Golden Boats, an installation of tiny boats made from real gold and light, as a memorial to commemorate this tragic loss with a spiritual brilliance. What the darkness had consumed was here restored with light. There have certainly been other successes to show that Cai is not deterred by failure; quite the contrary, for it often spurs him to succeed but on bigger and more spectacular terms. So, for Copenhagen, will a dragon arise to meet the Vikings in the harbour—as it did in Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, at Humlebæk in Denmark in 1997 when Flying Dragon in the Heavens: Project for Extra-terrestrials No. 29 saw a 100-metre long dragon kite aloft propelled by the wind force from an explosion of a hundred kilos of gunpowder? Or, just as in Vienna in 1999, when Dragon Sight Sees in Vienna exploded across a wire suspended between construction cranes in the city’s art district?19



A recent example of Cai quoting culture through the metaphors common to A Clan of Boats arose in Qatar at the end of 2011. For Cai, Doha suggested a fascinating link to his past and to Quanzhou, which is also a centre of the Muslim faith in China, and home to one of the oldest and biggest mosques in China. It was a chance to connect with a new place, and its culture and people, via the boat. The occasion was Cai’s major solo exhibition titled Saraab (“mirage” in Arabic), hosted by Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha. Given the maritime connection to the ancient Arab and Chinese worlds, it was natural that the exhibition featured a number of boats. Amongst a great volume of new and older works, Cai created an installation called Endless. The title related to the unending cultural exchange between various regions of the world, but might as easily refer to his inexhaustible passion for boats. Here, in the form of two traditional small wooden Arab houris, the distinctive local fishing vessel, and a Chinese boat. Each being a small craft, they were placed in a tank, where the water was given motion by a wave machine, and the air veiled with fog from an automatic smoke machine, creating an aura that suggested the mysterious connection between the two distant places.

The metaphor of the mirage that underscored the exhibition allowed Cai to unravel some complex cultural myths, by invoking objects and traditions shared in common. This is a central part of the process by which he makes art. Each of the motifs brought to the works in Doha as here in Copenhagen can be said to represent a fragment of his journey as an artist. But as is his habit, he always manages to go beyond a simple insight into a particular concept, infusing even the subtlest of details in the work with some aspect of the prevailing zeitgeist within the local culture and its broader relation to the global context. Culture thus quoted, speaks directly to the present, even when channelled through some aspect of history, and to all people, irrespective of the culture in which the work may be embedded or to which the viewer may belong.



No exhibition of Cai Guo-Qiang’s works is complete without the requisite explosion. How, too, to refuse the invitation? That Cai Guo-Qiang is so widely revered for the work, that go off with a bang is evidence of the human fascination with explosions and the dazzling light of fireworks—even where these are black. Cai’s presentations of black fireworks began in 2005 in Valencia, with the project Black Rainbow. This was jarring when transferred two months later to Edinburgh; such blackness in the day bursting against the magnificent backdrop of this green, royal city was unexpected to say the least. To achieve the titular mirage in Doha, Cai created the explosion event of Black Ceremony, which appropriated military technology for a series of explosions in the desert. Cai was fully aware of the implications of black smoke explosions in this part of the world occurring in broad daylight. As he said, “It might seem like a terrorist event. I wanted to see what a rocky desert terrain would look like in the daytime with the explosions taking its place, throwing up clouds of black-tinted smoke along with the Bang! Bang! Bang! Everything comes with a sense of political insecurity.” 22  For most spectators, each of these explosions was a memorable example of Cai using the sky as “a canvas,” albeit for a few fleeting seconds.

Cai describes the firework projects as a vehicle for reminding people that “the artist, like an alchemist, has the ability to transform certain energies, using poison against poison, using dirt and getting gold.”23 Fireworks are certainly a tremendous means of achieving that: we don’t need to have been physically present at one of Cai’s projects to be excited by the idea of it. We have all been hypnotised by an explosion, or fire(works) at some point in our lives. Few of us pause to consider the extraordinary cost involved in producing these displays: it is a sign of the prevailing zeitgeist that funding these displays is increasingly challenging.

But Cai does not need an explosion to demonstrate his ability to “transform energy” or to “use dirt to get gold.” That aura pervades a work like Reflection—A Gift from Iwaki, presented here adrift in its cold sea. So, although Cai sees the overarching goal of art as being to reveal life’s contradictions, he has also described art as a “tunnel between time and space connecting cultures, peoples, in unique moments.”24 With A Clan of Boats, he shows just how deft his skills as a tunnel-builder are today.

The author would like to thank Kelly Ma and the Cai Studio staff for their assistance with this essay.



1 Jouanno, Evelyne. “Cai Guo-Qiang: Between Heaven and Earth.” FlashartOnline.com, November-December 2000.
2 Unless otherwise indicated, all quotations are taken from interviews with the artist carried out in December 2011.
3 The person of Ceridwen, quoted from the preface to The Circle of Ceridwen, authored by Octavia Randolph, published www.octavia.net, 1996
4 The website for Quanzhou China; www.fjqz.gov.cn/lwcmsapp/www2/www.fjqz.gov.cn/english/1301/2004-10-28/14574.htm
5 Richard Gould, “Asia’s Undersea Archaeology”, Sultan’s Lost Treasures, PSB broadcast, January 2001
6 Ibid.
7 Ibid.
8 “Archaeology of a Quanzhou Ship”, www.vancouvermaritimemuseum.com
Transom stern indicates a particular type of stern (the back of a boat) which being structured by a framework of transoms (beams) achieved an efficient shape for navigating sea voyages. This shape enabled the development of a sophisticated steering system, which was invented in China, and known as the rudder. An axial rudder took a form that could be mounted on a transom at the back of the boat and raised and lowered as necessary, in order to avoid damage in rough waters.
9 Jouanno, Evelyne. “Cai Guo-Qiang: Between Heaven and Earth.” FlashartOnline.com., November-December 2000.
10 1993, courtesy Cai Studio.
11 Cai Guo-Qiang, “Wild Flights of Fancy”, 1998, Lovely Daze, Under Influence 2009
12 Here I am thinking of lyrics from the song “Messing About on the River”, written by Tony Hatch and Les Reed, first performed by Josh MacRae in 1962, followed by Danny Kyle in 1998.

When the weather is fine you know it’s the time / For messin’ about on the river
If you take my advice there’s nothing so nice / As messin’ about on the river
There’s big boats and wee boats and all kinds of craft / Puffers and keel boats and some with no raft
With the wind in your face there’s no finer place / Than messin’ about on the river

There are boats made from kits that’ll reach you in bits / For messin’ about on the river
And you might want to skull in a glass fibred hull / Go messin’ about on the river
Anchors and tillers and rudders and cleets / Ropes that are sometimes referred to as sheets
With the wind in your face there’s no finer place / Than messin’ about on the river

Skippers and mates and rowing club eights / All messin’ about on the river
Capstans and quays where you tie up with ease / All messin’ about on the river
Outboards and inboards and dinghies you sail / The first thing you learn is the right way to bale
In a one man canoe you’re both skipper and crew / Messin’ about on the river

13 Interview with Evelyne Jouanno, Flash Art on Line, 2000
14 Cai, Guo-Qiang, trans. by Jennifer Wen Ma, “The Foolish Man and His Mountain 2001” Cai Guo-Qiang. London: Phaidon Press Limited, 2002, 130-141.
15 Ibid.
16 Ibid.
17 Ibid.
18 Ibid.
19 Dragon Sight Sees in Vienna was part of Cai’s solo exhibition I Am the Y2K Bug at the Kunsthalle Wien.
20 Cai, Guo-Qiang. “Wild Flights of Fancy,” 1998, Lovely Daze, Under Influence 2009
21 Cai Guo-Qiang quoted from an interview, Art21: Art in the Twenty-First Century, www.pbs.org/art211education, 2005
22 Cai Guo-Qiang, in discussion with the author, Doha, 2011.
23 Cai Guo-Qiang quoted from an interview, Art21: Art in the Twenty-First Century, www.pbs.org/art211education, 2005
24 Cai Guo-Qiang, in discussion with the author, Doha, 2011.

Conversations with Cai Guo-Qiang

Hans Ulrich Obrist

[In physical book only]

Sixty-three narratives on boats

Cai Guo-Qiang

[In physical book only]


Cai Studio:

Cai Guo-Qiang
Hong Hong Wu, Financial Manager
Tatsumi Masatoshi, Technical Director
Kelly Ma, Project Manager
Chinyan Wong, Project Manager
Karen Chen, Head of Archives
Shu-Wen Lin, Archivist
Shanshan Xia, Special Projects Manager
Tiffany Hu, Publications Specialist
Chiaying Yu, Archival Assistant
Stephanie Lee, Archival Assistant
Yuyu Chen, Project Assistant
Lulu Zhang, Studio Manager
Canhuang Cai, Studio Assistant, Beijing
Silin Chow, Studio Assistant, New York
Zhenhuan Zhou, Operations Coordinator

Faurschou Foundation:

Jens Faurschou, Owner
Luise Faurschou, Owner
Michael Elgaard, CEO
Jannie Haagemann, Curator
Janna Lund, Curator
Kristian Eley, Architect
Michelle Dalum, Accountant
Tine Deckmann, Accounting Assistant
Christian Faurschou, Assistant
Christoffer Faurschou, Assistant
Mathias Kyed, Assistant
Oscar Pedersen, Assistant
Jonas Gøttler, Art Handler
Nikolas K. Nitzsche-Tollet, Art Handler

Iwaki Team:

Fujita Chuhei, Kanno Yoshio, Nawa Makoto, Ono Kazuo, Shiga Tadashige, Shiga Takemi, Shinagwa Yuji
Camilla Nellemann, Interpreter


Sofie Andersen, Trine Bang, Amalie Barfod, Signe Kirstine Ebdrup Bendixen, Lea Cecilie Bennedsen, Marta Blàva, Doris Bloom, Jon Borggaard, Kamille Aagaard Brixen, Patrick Melchior Dahl, Anna Dester, Anne-Sofie Riis Didriksen, Mads Emil Malling Engelmann, Mikkel Fogh, Mia Frykholm, Veronika Geiger, Emma Groes-Petersen, Sonia Maria Davies Gravgaard, Oline Haagemann Greve, Caroline Hahne, Ryan Tyge Hansen, Hossam Hassan, Hanne Hauer, Christian Herman, Viktor Holm-Larsen, Maria Luisa Højberg, Phakon Høyer, Charlotte Jabli, Christian Suderbo Jepsen Jensen,
 Jørgen Hauge Jensen, Else Kristine Jensen, Klara Lilja Jensen, Mads Kjaergaard-Hansen, Malou Norby Krabbenhøft, Mark Larsen, Lasse Levinsen, Maria Koizumi Lindhardt, Elaine Liu, Tobias Lukassen, Lone Madsen, Guille Marín Blàva, Daudi Mkande, Cecilia Isabella B Møller, Karoline Møller Faxe, Jose Morillo Quintanilla, Bjørn Mortensen, Kristina Muusman, Jakob Møller, Ida Nicolaisen, Monica Nielsen, Jack Nuttall, Ivar Nørregaard-Jensen,
 Marianne Falck Orby, Aristea Pappas, Cecilia Pedersen, Malene Sofie Pedersen, Natascha Christina Petersen, Nadia Louise Poulsen, Helle Raith, Kuna Rasmussen, Aukje Lepoutre Ravn, Eske Rex, Clara Stephanie Rudolph, Ellen Schafer, Katrine Skovgaard, Anna Rosa Vallebo Svendsen, Clara Stark, Helene Starup, Josephine Starup, Claus Steenback, Jenny Thai, Anne Tholstrup, Amalie Sofia Thorndal-Kofod, Josephine Helena Thorsen, Julie Elisabeth Tingberg, Line Wolfgang Vestergaard, Majse Vilstrup, Christiane Ambjørnsen von Voss, Gitte Westerdahl, Xueyin Chen, Emma Zhang Xiaohua, Emilie Østengård.




Published on the occasion of the exhibition:

Cai Guo-Qiang: A Clan of Boats 

Organized by and presented at:
Faurschou Foundation
Copenhagen, Denmark
6 September 2012 – 31 January 2013

Cai Guo-Qiang A Clan of Boats © 2013 Faurschou Foundation, Copenhagen.
All rights reserved.

All works by Cai Guo-Qiang © 2013 Cai Guo-Qiang. Used by permission.
All rights reserved.

Faurschou Foundation
Klubiensvej 11
2150 nordhavn

Editors: Karen Chen, Jannie Haagemann, Tiffany Hu, Shu-Wen Lin, Janna Lund, Kelly Ma, Chinyan Wong

Transcribers: Sayuri Alsman, Akiko Hasebe, Shanshan Xia

Translators: Sayuri Alsman, Akiko Hasebe, Kelly Ma, James Manley

Blaise Adilon
Ron Amstutz
Muriel Assens
Anders Sune Berg
Cai Guo-Qiang
Wen-You Cai
Rohsuan Chen
Chen Shizhe
Jens Frederiksen
Tine Harden
David Heald
Hiro Ihara
Izumiya Gensaku
I-Hua Lee
Li Zilong
Shu-Wen Lin
Lin Yi
Xiaoli Ma
Elio Montanari
Masanobu Moriyama
Ni Yan
Kazuo Ono
Dirk Pauwels
Juan García Rosell
Tatsumi Masatoshi
Seiji Toyonaga
Dolby Tu
Norihiro Ueno
Daxin Wu
Yamamoto Tadasu

Design: Anne Solmer

Printed in Denmark by Rosendahls

ISBN 978-87-91706-00-4

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