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Alumna Lydia Ohl Introduces Work of Cai Guo-Qiang and Screening of “Sky Ladder” on October 5

Posted by on Tuesday, October 3, 2017 in Events, HART, Lectures, News, Student/Alumni, VRC.

Sky Ladder scheduled to stream on Netflix. Shown: Sky Ladder, June 2015. Photo: Courtesy of Cai Studio/Netflix ©

Lydia Ohl, a Vanderbilt HART major who graduated in 2011, will present “Art History in Real Time: Archiving Cai Guo-Qiang” on Thursday, October 5, at 12:30 pm in Cohen Hall 203 on the Peabody campus followed by a 1:10-2:25 pm documentary screening of Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang.  Ohl, head of archives at Cai Studio, will provide an introduction to the Chinese artist’s life and work as well as her role in the collection and preservation of Cai Guo-Qiang’s art and personal history.

Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang is a breathtaking, narrative documentary film directed by Academy Award winner Kevin Macdonald. Told through the eyes of family, friends, collaborators, art experts, and Cai himself, along with rare footage selected from the artist’s archives, Sky Ladder follows Cai’s meteoric rise on the international stage. It is a dazzling journey that culminates in his becoming an artist known for “lighting fires” all over the world and filling the sky with shimmering fireworks or colorful smoke.

According to Artnet News (October 14, 2016), perhaps Cai‘s most compelling, personal work yet is Sky Ladder, 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. The film opens with Cai reflecting on the history of gunpowder, one of China’s most significant contributions to the world. “They were actually looking for an elixir to make themselves immortal,” he told the interviewer.

Ohl’s presentation and the screening of Sky Ladder is sponsored by the Asian Studies Program and the Department of History of Art as part of Global/Asia: Celebrating 50 Years of Asian Studies at Vanderbilt.

 *Sky Ladder, June 2015. Photo: Courtesy of Cai Studio/Netflix ©

 

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