Currently on display at the Singapore National museum are one of the most talked about pieces in modern art- Cai Guo-Qiang’s flying pack of wolves, Head on. Just like any modern art, it can either awe, shock or draw controversial flak. But you can’t deny this is a show stealer.

Cai Guo-Qiang's "Head On"
Head on!
Not an everyday scene
Not an everyday scene
Wolf-off!
Wolf-off!

Showcase talk
Located in the underground bowels of the National museum, the display was made out of 99 individual replica wolves and were produced in Quanzhou, China in 2006 (from January to June). The wolves are made to follow a continuous circle, running off in a pack before leaping off into an orderly floating frenzy before coming head first into a glass wall. The glass wall symbolizes the invisible roadblocks and challenges we face in life due to miscalculated risks or greed, which will inevitably stop you dead in your tracks.

No wolves were harmed in the making of this showcase- The workshop commissioned in manufacturing these remarkable, life-sized replicas of animals are local in Cai’s hometown. First, small clay models were created as movement studies, out of which Cai subsequently developed Head On’s artist editions of cast resin wolves. However, the realistic and lifelike 99 wolves that grew out of these models and drawings possess no literal remnants of wolves. No wolves were harmed in making the exhibit. they are fabricated from painted sheepskins and stuffed with hay and metal wires, with plastic lending contour to their faces and marbles for eyes.

A running start
A running start
Take off!
Take off!
Bonk!
Bonk!

There are two other works on display as well, Illusion and Vortex:

Illusion II (2006)
The destruction of a small exploding house packed with fireworks, exploring the contradiction between beauty and violence.

Vortex (2006)
One of Cai Guo-Qiang’s gunpowder masterpieces, depicting thousands of wolves chasing one another in a ciruclar motion as if sucked into a vortex. The pack of wolves moves with grea tengery force and determination, simultaneously demostrating a perfect unity with organic power of the gunpowder.

The exhibition
Cai Guo Qiang: Head On
Free admission
Exhibition Gallery 2, Basement
Friday 2 July 2010 – Tuesday 31 August 2010 10:00am – 6:00pm

About Cai Guo-Qiang
Cai Guo-Qiang was born in 1957 in Quanzhou City, Fujian, China. He was trained in stage design at the Shanghai Theater Academy from 1981 to 1985. Cai’s work is scholarly and often politically charged. Cai initially began working with gunpowder to foster spontaneity and confront the suppressive, controlled artistic tradition and social climate in China.

Double Bonk!
Double Bonk!
A pile of wolves
A pile of wolves
A gun powder piece
A gun powder piece

While living in Japan from 1986 to 1995, Cai explored the properties of gunpowder in his drawings, an inquiry that eventually led to his experimentation with explosives on a massive scale and the development of his signature “explosion events,” artistically choreographed shows incorporating fireworks and other pyrotechnics. In 1995, he moved to New York with a grant from the New York-based Asian Cultural Council, an international organization to promote artistic exchanges between Asian countries and the United States.

Be sure to check out the displays before August!

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