Cai Guo-Qiang was born in 1957 in Quanzhou City in the Fujian Province of China. He is a well-known Chinese pyrotechnical contemporary artist who started his career as a stage designer. This specific concentration helped him become comfortable with larger performance artworks pertaining to his style which utilizes gunpowder and explosives. Since the mid-1980s, Cai Guo-Qiang had been creating art events and projects that emphasize the cosmic laws of opposition between creation and destruction yin and yang. Cai Guo-Qiang continued to evolve the scale and form of these gunpowder works. Initially, he started by using explosive gunpowder on canvas, which eventually led him to develop his signature outdoor explosion events. A notable artwork made by Cai Guo-Qiang is the Sky Ladder which is a 1,650-foot-tall ladder, held aloft by a giant balloon and rigged with explosives. As the massive sculpture ignites, it creates a fiery vision that miraculously ascends to the heavens. He currently lives and works in New York City and New Jersey, however earlier in his career he mainly worked in Japan which helped him turn his conceptual ideas into reality.

Guo-Qiang, Cai, and Octavio Zaya. “Portfolio.” Grand Street, no. 67 (1999): 120–25.