Mesmerizing "Sky Ladder" Made of Fireworks Ignites as It Drifts into the Sky

On June 15, at the break of dawn, artist Cai Guo-Qiang set off a giant white balloon filled with 6,200 cubic meters of helium. As the orb ascended above Huiyu Island Harbour in Quanzhou, China, it carried with it a 500-meter-long ladder coated in quick-burning fuses and gold fireworks. Guo-Qiang then ignited the structure, setting off his awe-inspiring creation called Sky Ladder.

The pyrotechnic piece was short-lived, burning for about 2 minutes and 30 seconds before fading out. Although fleeting, it was a spectacular show and Guo-Qiang's fourth and final attempt at a performance like this. He had the initial idea as a child and first began the artistic endeavor in 1994, and tried it again in 2001 and 2012. Guo-Qiang now considers his vision complete, stating, “Despite all life's twists and turns, I have always been determined to realize it.” He goes on to explain, “Sky Ladder today is tender, and touches my heart deeply: it carries affection for my hometown, my relatives and my friends.”

There isn't yet an official recording of the performance, but check out the short, mesmerizing video below to see the Sky Ladder in action.

Above photo credit: Lin Yi


Photo credit: Wen-You Cai


Photo source: Cai Studio


Photo source: Cai Studio


Photo source: Cai Studio


Photo credit: Wen-You Cai

Cai Guo-Qiang: Website
via [Booooooom, Colossal]

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met and Manager of My Modern Met Store. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.

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