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In the Volcano: Cai Guo-Qiang and Pompeii

21 February 2019 h 12:00 - 16:00

In the Volcano: Cai Guo-Qiang and Pompeii

February 21st at 1pm
A unique explosion event by artist Cai Guo-Qiang leading to
February 22nd
Opening of asolo exhibition at the National Archaeological Museum of Naples
IN THE VOLCANO: Cai Guo-Qiang and Pompeii
On view from FEBRUARY 22ndto May 20th2019
Press preview 4:30pm
Exhibition opening 6:30pm

February 21st. An explosion of gunpowder and color smoke in Pompeii’s Amphitheatre will reignite the tragic and vital dynamics of the eruption of Mt. Vesuviusin a timeless, poetic journey that tells the story of the destruction and rebirth of Pompeii.

Artist Cai Guo-Qiangwill execute Explosion Studio in the arena of the Amphitheatre at 1 PMon February 21s. An artistic explosion whose different phaseswill act as metaphor of not only the tragedy that devastated Pompeii but also its remarkable discovery. Explosion Studio will bring to light exceptional historical moments and archaeological finds.

The works created from this explosion event will subsequently be “excavated” and transferred to the National Archaeological Museum of Naples (MANN) for the exhibition opening on February 22ndat 6:30 PM, until May 20th, 2019.Spread throughout the museum—from the Farnese Collection to the frescoes section, from the atrium to the mosaic collection—Cai Guo-Qiang’s works will narrate the enduring link between past and present, and between Eastern and Western culture.

The exhibition is curated by Jérôme Neutres. Theprojectis co-hosted by the Archaeological Park of Pompeii and the National Archaeological Museum of Naples.In the Volcano is made possible with support of Morra Foundation.

With this multifaceted artistic engagement, artist Cai Guo-Qiang continueshis work in Italy after the success of his firework performance in Florence (City of Flowers in the Sky) and the solo show Flora Commedia: Cai Guo-Qiang at the Uffizias part of Cai Guo-Qiang’sbroader project,An individual’s Journey through Western ArtHistory.

Explosion Studio

The explosion at the Amphitheatre of Pompeii will be a one-of-its-kind historical event. At the center of the Amphitheatre, canvases of different sizes and copies of objects linked to daily life and art in Pompeii will be placed on a32-by-6-meter canvas, supported by a platform.These objects include reproductions of sculptures from the MANN collections, such as the Venus Callipigia, the Farnese Hercules and Atlas, and the bust of Pseudo-Seneca.

Explosion Studiowill unfold in three parts. I.Beginning with the evocative chapter “The Fabric of Civilization” - small explosions will disrupt the artefacts arranged on the canvas, marking it violently and with the same ruthlessness that hasleft its mark on human lives at the time of the volcanic explosion of the Vesuvio.II. After a brief pause, coloreddaytime fireworks lined up along the canvas point towards the sky as though an unrelenting volcanic eruption. The fireworks will theatrically embody a heavy “Sigh,” that of the rise and fall of a human civilization. This occasion marks the artist’s first attempt to “paint” on canvas with fireworks. III.Then,“Excavation” will begin –amid the last fumes, the artist and his team will bring to light the “archaeological ruins.” The exploded canvas will be filled with imageries and colors inspired by the collection of objects discovered in Pompeii now in the MANN collection.

"I borrow from Massimo Osanna, to whom we owe the promotion of this project, the idea that Pompeii is a place of the contemporary." - declares the interim Director of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, Alfonsina Russo. “Pompeii, suspended in time, has always captured the imagination and creative spirit of artists of all ages, reminding us that the tragic event of 79 AD impressed itself upon collective memory for eternity, not only for its unique history and testimony of an era, but also because of the profound sense of fragility and impotence we are constantlyfaced with."