Continuing our coverage of the Stages exhibition in Paris we look a little closer at the work of Cai Guo-Qiang, Tom Sachs, Dzine and Geoff McFetridge.
Cai Guo-Qiang has got an immense body of work that I was completely unaware of until this project. Born in China and having ived in Japan for nearly a decade, Cai is now based in New York. His response for the exhibition was Tree With Yellow Blossoms, a huge (230cm x 310cm) tree created using gunpowder, mounted on wood as a four-panel folding screen. The impact of using gunpowder, a medium so strongly associated with violence and destruction and then to produce such a visually and intellectually rich work of art was breathtaking. When asked about his piece for Stages Cai explains “It symbolizes the endless cycle of life and growth and its power to put forth new life and hope.”
Tom Sachs is another artist with a body of work and reputation that reinforces the huge achievement the curation of this exhibition was. One of the more talked about pieces in the show was Tom Sachs’ Lance’s Tequila Bike for Girls, not least because Tom was there at the launch to demonstrate the mobile bike/bar dispensing Tequila shots to anyone that wanted one in a choice of crudely named shot glasses.
Dzine was another artist to produce a bike, this time in response to Lance Armstrong’s well known comment “it’s not about the bike”. The Tipping Point is a custom lowrider bicycle (24kt gold plating, 23kt gold leaf, custom engraving, chrome, nickel plating, enamel paint, automotive paint, suede, Swarovski crystals, neon, rubber, iPod/audio speakers, and mirror), quite a spec and certainly an eye catcher as you walk into the gallery.
Geoff McFetridge is an artist who is as diverse as he is prolific. Not simply a hugely talented illustrator Geoff is also a well know graphic artist, film director and shown here, artist. Even the Simplest Shapes Wish to Become Logos One Day was one of the simplest ideas in concept and execution, but proved to be one of the most powerful in message. A 168cm diameter circular sculpture made up of large individual yellow wooden pushpins and as Geoff explains, “The yellow circle/bracelet becomes an object of unity and strength. In this way I am using my own graphic language to interpret Lance’s. If each bracelet represents a person’s solidarity to the cause, each of these pins can also represent an individual — a survivor, a future survivor, or one who will come across cancer in his or her life, which is all of us”.