Cai Guoqiang was born in Quanzhou, Fujian Province. He graduated from the Stage Design Department of Shanghai Theatre Academy in 1985. In 1991, Cai Guoqiang held a solo exhibition "Primeval Fireball" in Japan. In his "Project for Extraterrestrials" series of works, titling with "The Earth Has Its Black Hole, Too", he won the Hiroshima Art Prize and set off the "Cai Guoqiang Phenomenon" in the Japanese contemporary art world. Since moving to New York in 1995, his works have become more well-known in the world. He served as director of visual and special effects for the opening and closing ceremonies of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The 29 footprints displayed above Beijing's skyline with fireworks impressed people all around the world. In 2019, he served as the general director of the fireworks display for the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
Cai Guoqiang has created many breathtaking artworks: In 2013, he created the concept blasting plan "One Night Stand" on the Seine River; the solo exhibition "Farmers Da Vinci" toured Brazil attracted more than one million visitors. In 2014, at the opening ceremony of “Cai Guoqiang: The Ninth Wave", he set the fireworks "Elegy" during daytime on the Huangpu River. In the early morning of June 15 2015, "Sky Ladder" blasted at Huiyu Island, Quanzhou.
Cai Guoqiang combined self-expression with Chinese culture in his works of art, releasing his adventurous spirit.
Cai Guoqiang has played gunpowder in his hometown of Quanzhou. Cai Guoqiang, who grew up in a strong atmosphere of traditional art, once had resistance to traditional culture. Hence, he chose Western painting instead. However, many years later, traditional Chinese culture has become an indispensable element in his works. When studied in Shanghai Academy of Art, he began to draw oil paintings and ignited it with fire. The magical outcome made Cai Guoqiang feel like he had discovered the new world.
Cai Guoqiang's gunpowder blasting is a "blasting" of the suppressed space in his life, as well as a breakthrough in the negative pressure on traditional culture. The combination of the explosive effect of gunpowder, canvas and oil paint is actually a relationship between destruction and construction.