Cai Guo-Qiang: The Ninth Wave Exhibit in Shanghai

Shanghai: Cai Guo-Qiang's The Ninth Wave

Cai Guo-Qiang’s The Ninth Wave

Before starting my MBA program, I took a modern art class at a local community college. For my final assignment, I had to pick an artist to do a presentation on. I didn’t know anything about Cai Guo-Qiang (蔡国强), but I was intrigued by his car installation at the Guggeinheim. I ended up  learning that he was the Director of Visual and Special Effects for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Born on December 8, 1957 in Guanzhou City, Fujian Province, China, Cai Guo-Qiang was exposed to art at a young age because his father was a a brush painter and calligrapher. He trained in stage design at the Shanghai Theater Academy and lived in Japan from 1986 to 1995. While he has spent time around the world, he now currently resides in New York.

Shanghai: Birds and Flowers of Brazil

Birds and Flowers of Brazil

In 1984, Cai Guo-Qiang’s produced his first piece with gunpowder. He unrolled the gunpowder from a firework, poured it on a canvas and lit it on fire. I liked how this creates a dynamic sense in his work since you can’t control the outcome of the little bursts of flames. When he was asked why he worked with fireworks, Cai Guo-Qiang explained his philosophy of “creative destruction.” He believes that something must literally be broken down in order to be transformed and he also liked the juxtaposition of old and new. Fireworks are an age-old invention (created in ancient China in the 7th century), but he wanted to explore the possibilities of using the material in new ways.

Shanghai: Spring (gunpowder on porcelain tiles)

Top: Spring (gunpowder on porcelain tiles)

After learning more about Cai Guo-Qiang, I was always intrigued by his work. I was all too excited when an exhibit of his work was being shown in Shanghai. When you first walk into the museum, you see a large boat filled with stuffed taxidermy animals. They actually floated this boat down the Huangpu river and is an environmental commentary. You’ll also see a couple of his large gunpowder on canvas works, as well as videos of the making of these pieces. One of the museum rooms also plays videos of a few of his spectacular fireworks displays.

Shanghai: The Bund Without Us

The Bund Without Us

Shanghai: Side View of The Bund Without Us

Side View of The Bund Without Us

Cai Guo-Qiang’s The Ninth Wave is currently being shown at the Power Station of Art (200 Huayuangang Lu, 花园港路200号) until October 26, 2014. The entrance fee is 50 RMB, but there is actually a Cartier Time Art exhibit also being displayed simultaneously. The Cartier watch exhibit is 20RMB, but the joint ticket is only 60 RMB. If you have the time, I would definitely recommend seeing both!

Shanghai: Head On

Head On



Hong Kong Museum of Art and the Fatty Crab

Chili Crab at the Fatty Crab in Hong Kong

Chili Crab at the Fatty Crab in Hong Kong

It was an extremely rainy weekend in Hong Kong, but it provided the perfect excuse to check out one of Hong Kong’s museums. My friends and I went to the Hong Kong Museum of Art to see The Origins of Dao: New Dimensions in Chinese Contemporary Art exhibit.

Origins of Dao Exhibit

Origins of Dao Exhibit

Hanging Gourd

Hanging Gourd

For just 10 Hong Kong dollars (5 dollars if you’re a student), you can check out the contemporary art, Chinese painting, Chinese antiquity and calligraphy exhibits. It is totally worth it and you get a cool view of the harbor too.

The heads are creepy, but the harbor view is great.

The heads are creepy, but the harbor view is great.

My favorite: Please Proceed to 2F

My favorite: Please Proceed to 2F

The Origins of Dao is in town until August 18. Given that the rainy weather is likely to continue, I hope you get the chance to see it for yourself.

Fatty Crab Hong Kong

Fatty Crab Hong Kong

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Hello, Hong Kong!

Hong Kong Harbor

Taken my first night in Hong Kong

I still feel like I’m in a dream-like state and can’t believe I moved from Paris to Hong Kong. This will be my new home for the next 2+ months and it is actually the longest amount of time I’ve ever spent in this glorious city. I’m a little bit spoiled because I have family in Hong Kong (my grandmother has already well-fed me three times this week). I’m excited to get to know the city better and hopefully post some interesting updates! I thought I’d share a few pictures from the first week.

Tourist vs Local

Tourist vs. Locals

Junk Boat

I think I’m going to have to ride on of those junk boats before I leave.

Rubber Duck Hong Kong

Who doesn’t like a giant six-story rubber duck? Installation by Dutch artist, Florentijin Hofman.

It was a perfect time to be in Hong Kong because my friends and I got to attend Art|Basel’s first show in Hong Kong. It was a huge exhibit of modern and contemporary art held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Art Basel Hong Kong1

Left: This painting was incredible with the aerial shot of people; Right: Close-up.

Art Basel Hong Kong2

Left: Classmate and I posing; Right: I really liked the Lotus glass lanterns.

Art Basel Hong Kong3

The painting in the bottom right corner was one of my favorites.

It was a great first week despite the incessant thunderstorms. We survived our first episode of “black rain.” Black rain is when it is raining so hard that the sky turns black and everyone is ordered not to go into work or school until it calms down. We missed that memo and showed up to work anyways.

Looking forward to what is in store the next couple of months!

HK Night

Always vibrant in Hong Kong

Celebrating my Name Day in Paris

Galerie Vivienne in Paris

Galerie Vivienne in Paris

I love this whole European concept of a “name day” and I wish I had known about it earlier. Basically, every single day of the year is associated with a specific name of a saint. The church would then have festivals for certain saints on certain days. In today’s world, it’s basically a 2nd birthday and a great excuse to treat yo self!

Technically, I had a belated name day celebration because Saint Jacqueline’s day was February 8 and my workload was too heavy to partake in any festivities. Fear not, I made up for it this weekend!

I first stopped by the Pinacothèque de Paris to check out the latest Hiroshige and Vincent Van Gogh rêves de Japon exhibit. There was two different exhibits: one focused on Hiroshige and the other focused on how Japan’s artwork influenced Van Gogh’s work. I enjoyed both a lot, but if you only have time to visit one, I’d recommend the Van Gogh exhibit. They had banners up showing Hiroshige’s art and you could directly compare it to Van Gogh’s; it was really fascinating to see the direct influence. If you don’t read French, be sure to ask for an English translation at the information desk. The two exhibits are in town until March 17, 2013.

Galerie Vivienne in Paris

Adorable Alleyway, Galerie Vivienne and a Poster from the Pinacothèque

Afterward, I decided that I was going to walk the 3+ kilometers from Madeleine to the Marais and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air in Paris. I loved stumbling upon Galerie Vivienne, an alleyway full of restaurants, cute boutique stores and even a vintage bookstore. I came really close to buying that print of a girl holding a heart. It was a still a fruitful day of shopping at Comptoir Des Cotonniers and at FrenchTrotters. FrenchTrotters is this hip store in the Marais that totally reminded me of a French Anthropologie. The store features local French designers and they also produce their own line of clothing. At FrenchTrotters, I couldn’t resist a retro, multi-colored weekend bag and I have a feeling I will be stopping by the store every time I go to the Marais.

Breizh Cafe

Cider, savory crêpe, salted caramel, banana and Chantilly cream crêpe.

I had a specific destination in the Marais– Breizh Café. Originally from Japan, Breizh Café serves the most delectable crêpes in savory and sweet forms. I already knew that the actual restaurant would be crazy and full (you have to make a reservation) so I headed next door to the L’Epicerie Breizh Café, which is a small gourmet food store. They have one communal table with six seats, but they serve the exact same crêpes! I ordered the savory crêpe with cheese, egg, ham and artichoke hearts and also a salted caramel crêpe with pears and Chantilly whipped cream (not pictured). I’ve eaten savory crêpes at many establishments and I’ve come to the conclusion that I like sweet ones much better. Don’t get me wrong, my salty crêpe was good, but I just think the dessert ones are SO much better. Straight from Brittany, the salted caramel  has that perfect smokey, acidic taste to complement the sweetness from the fruit. I like how the salted caramel wasn’t too sweet and wasn’t overwhelming. It was definitely the best crêpe I’ve had in Paris. 

Parc de Belleville

Gorgeous View from Parc de Belleville

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Brunch at Eggs & Co. and Musée Rodin

The Thinker

Thinking with every single muscle in his body, Auguste Rodin’s “The Thinker.”

I was glad to finally escape my room on Sunday and meet up with My Red Kitchen (MRK) for brunch. MRK and I first met in May at Bocado in Shanghai. I am so incredibly grateful for how small the world is and how there is an immediate bond with fellow bloggers. After meeting the manager at Bocado and giving him my blog business card, he introduced me to MRK who was sitting at the table next to me. A Parisian with a food blog who would be returning to Paris in June? It was a match made in heaven (by the French food gods).

Eggs & Co.

Eggs & Co. in Saint-Germain-Des-Prés

Eggs & Co. is a small restaurant that specializes in– you guessed it–eggs. I was surprised that brunch is a popular meal in Paris because everything tends to be closed on Sundays (in retrospect: I don’t know why I was surprised since the French enjoy having really long meals). MRK assured me that brunch had been popular in Paris for quite a few years. At 2pm, the restaurant was still packed with people waiting aside (definitely make reservations beforehand). It’s a tiny restaurant with seating upstairs and squished tables. Don’t expect a quiet meal.

Everything is a set menu at Eggs & Co. so your meal will come with orange juice, tea or coffee, your main egg dish and then a giant pancake with fruit. The price range is around 25-30 euro. It’s a lot of food so come hungry.

I ordered the Coco meurette, English muffins with poached eggs topped with mushroom, bacon and shallots in a red wine sauce. Oeufs en meurette is one of my all-time favorite dishes and I was SO happy because the dish did not disappoint. The sauce had been reduced perfectly; it was thick and incredibly flavorful. MRK ordered oeufs à la coque, which are soft-boiled eggs that are served with mouliettes (perfectly shaped breadsticks to dip into your egg). She asked me what the translation was for oeufs à la coque in English and I realized Americans don’t really have anything like it. Yes, we have soft-boiled eggs, but no one will go through the effort to cut and toast little sticks of bread for you. I don’t know why because it’s the best idea ever. The pancakes were served with maple syrup and a fruit salad. They were OK (too thick), but my expectations weren’t high since it’s Eggs & Co. and not Pancakes & Co.

Musee Rodin

Musée Rodin

Musee Rodin Garden

The Gardens Were Gorgeous

The Gates of Hell

Rodin worked on “The Gates of Hell” for 37 years, until he died in 1917.

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