The opening of Cai Guo-Qiang’s exhibition named Saraab in Mathaf started with a bang. Literally. The opening ceremony featured a series of explosions in an open site adjacent to the museum. The explosions created a series of patterns in the sky, mostly in black and white. The view changes depending on your location. I, along with a few friends, decided to stay right next to Mathaf and so got a completely different view from the galleries.
I managed to get quite close to the site and when some of the blasts happened, the heat from radiation was quite warm. I guess the scorpions that live in the cracks and under the rocks would have all been roaming around in the open that night.
I got to meet Cai a few weeks ago during the installation as part of a film-making workshop in tandem to his work. Cai is very spatial in his interpretation. He likes to display his work in a spatial assembly where the viewer is at liberty to move around at his/her own pace and interpret the installation. There is less ‘packaging’ and so every visit opens up newer possibilities and alternate interpretations.
Cai’s largest installation that welcomes you right at the entrance is titled ‘homecoming’. It honors Arabic inscriptions found in his hometown. This highlights the trade and other connections the Arab world enjoyed with the Chinese in ancient times. You can wander around the work and discover numerous characters. Only your imagination is the limit.
I can’t wait for the next time to visit Mathaf and discover a few more of my own views of Cai’s work.
Of course, there is no word called duolith. It is just a monolith with two peaks.