Exploding the Self


A continuation of Cai's first NFT Transient Eternity, Exploding the Self is the genesis moment of a recent self-portrait by Cai.


Cai Guo-Qiang




1920 X 1080
MP4(19.1MB), MOV_HD(1.77GB)

Purchase History




Behind the scenes

The artist's silhouette appears in fierce firelight, as if in an instant of liberation, he is experiencing the pleasure of approaching his true self.

For the creation of the painting, gunpowder was arranged between two canvases that were laid face-to-face on the ground. Once ignited, two images emerged—one canvas was true to reality, the other a bewildering abstraction. The artist's masked selfie is a frank contemplation of the complexity and vulnerability he experienced during the pandemic.

Learn more about this artist

Exploding the Self

Rockbund Art Museum

The sale of Exploding the Self, as a small surprise for the NFT community, consists of 99 limited editions, each priced at 999 USD. In addition to the limited edition NFT, current owners will gain access to an exclusive online community on TRLab's Discord channel where they can engage with Cai directly through Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions on the occasion of his NFT drops in the future. They will also receive invitations to future openings of Cai's worldwide art projects for as long as they own the NFT.

The proceeds from the sale will go to Rockbund Art Museum in Shanghai in support of the museum's education programs.

Cai Guo-Qiang, Exploding the Self, 2021, 0:17, Non-fungible token (NFT), Limited Edition of 99

TRLab Notes

Cai Guo-Qiang finds the NFT medium to mean just as much as the art itself. The digital form encompasses the intangible world in which it exists, and its energy, capturing the very moment of creation. This work was created specifically for this world, not recorded after the fact to live as an NFT. It represents the merging of historical technology, symbolized by gunpowder, with future technology.

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