Internationally renowned for his gunpowder work, Cai Guo-Qiang is the first Chinese artist to win the prestigious Japanese award, the Praemium Imperiale.
On 12 September 2012 the Japan Art Association announced the winners of its annual Praemium Imperiale global arts prize. Among the winners of the lifetime achievement award was Chinese fireworks artist Cai Guo-Qiang, one of China’s most acclaimed contemporary artists.
The website for the prize cites Cai’s innovative and dynamic work with gunpowder as the reason for his selection. They also mention the artist’s Footprints of History fireworks project for the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, as well as his curatorship of the first China pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2005.
Cai Guo-Qiang and the other winners will each receive an honorarium of JPY15 million (approx. USD192,000). Honorary patron of the Japan Art Association Prince Hitachi will also present the winners with a diploma and a medal at an awards ceremony in Tokyo on 23 October 2012, with Cai scheduled to present a lecture the following day.
Other winners of the 2012 prize include American composer Philip Glass, Italian sculptor Cecco Bonanotte, Danish architect Henning Larsen and Japanese ballet dancer Yoko Morishita. The Detroit classical music education group The Sphinx Organisation received the 2012 Grant for Young Artists, a JPY5 million (approx. USD64,000) prize.
About the Praemium Imperiale
The Praemium Imperiale is a lifetime achievement award that was established by the Japan Art Association in 1989 to commemorate its 100-year anniversary. According to the association’s website, the annual award is given to “artists who have contributed significantly to the development of international arts and culture” in each of the prize’s five categories: painting, sculpture, architecture, music and theatre/film.
- Mathaf’s first eastward looking show – “Cai Guo-Qiang: Saraab” in recap – May 2012 – Cai’s successful Middle Eastern debut featured several site-specific gunpowder works
- Art Radar’s most-searched contemporary Asian artists, July to December 2011 – February 2012 – Cai ranked high for the second half of 2011
- Cai Guo-Qiang’s largest gunpowder drawings to date at Museum of Fine Arts, Houston opened to public this October – October 2010 – Cai’s first commissioned work made specifically for permanent collection by an American museum
- The 17th Sydney Biennale – Art Radar rounds up highlights, disappointments and critiques – August 2010 – featured a massive installation piece from Cai Guo-Qiang
- Guggenheim shows copy of Cai Guo Qiang sculpture – July 2008 – Cai’s work also raises issues of authenticity in contemporary art
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