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— by Dee Jefferson: Cai Guo-Qiang was a young man when he saw China’s army of 8,000-odd terracotta warriors for the first time, but the impression was indelible.

“I was taken away by the momentum and might of the presentation,” he told ABC RN’s The Art Show earlier this week.

It’s easy to imagine this being a formative moment for the artist, whose practice, in the subsequent decades, has been characterised by the same kind of awe-inspiring spectacle: firework displays and behemoth ‘explosion events’; a 500-metre-high ‘sky ladder’ to the heavens that defied three attempts across two decades to execute — before success in 2015…

Image: Cai Guo-Qiang created 10,000 porcelain starlings for the NGV’s winter exhibition, as a tribute to the Terracotta Warriors, courtesy of the National Gallery of Victoria/Eugene Hyland

May 25 2019, 14:15 AEST