Monday, 23 September 2019 6.00pm-9.00pm

'I like the hazard of working with gunpowder; it excites me.' - Cai Guo-Qiang

As an artist, Cai Guo-Qiang draws rich inspiration from his Chinese heritage, exploring traditional motifs and philosophies. Yet his work is also universal and inherently international, influenced by his many years spent in New York and Japan. If he has a signature medium, it may be gunpower: he uses the substance to create large-scale works on paper, as well as spectacular outdoor 'explosion events'.

In 2019, the National Gallery of Victoria presents a world-first exhibition in which Cai Guo-Qiang’s work responds directly to - and appears alongside - China's famous Terracotta Warriors. As part of the University of Melbourne’s Learning Partnership with the NGV exhibition Cai Guo-Qiang: The Transient Landscape, the Faculty of Arts presents an evening Melbourne Masterclass unpacking the newly-commissioned and spectacular works by Cai Guo-Qiang on display.

This Masterclass offers attendees:

  • in-depth insight into the life and work of Cai Guo-Qiang, a Venice Biennale Golden Lion winner and a towering figure in contemporary art;
  • behind-the-scenes perspectives on how the exhibition came together in collaboration with Cai Guo-Qiang and his studio;
  • and an opportunity to spend time exploring the exhibition and its companion exhibition Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality after-hours with a fraction of the usual crowds.

Speakers include: Exhibition Curator, Wayne Crothers; contemporary Chinese art expert, Associate Professor Claire Roberts; Faculty of Arts lecturer, Professor Charles Green; and NGV Senior Exhibition Designer, Ingrid Rhule.

Price: $65 General / $60 University of Melbourne Staff, Students and Alumni
Prices cover refreshments and exhibition entry and are GST inclusive.

Book now

Session outline

5.30pm-6.00pm Arrival and registration.
6.00pm-6.20pm Talk: Associate Professor Claire Roberts, 'Cai Guo-Qiang: Chinese-born international artist'
6.20pm-6.40pm Talk: Exhibition Curator Wayne Crothers, 'Cai Guo-Qiang and the Terracotta Warriors: A giant of contemporary art reflects on Chinese culture, history and philosophy'.
6.40pm-7.10pm In conversation: Wayne Crothers, Assoc Prof Claire Roberts, and Prof Charles Green discuss Cai Guo-Qiang’s international influences.
7.10pm-7.30pm Break for refreshments.
7.30pm-9.00pmExhibition viewing time.
7.45pm-8.00pm Pop-up gallery talk: Lead Exhibition Designer Ingrid Rhule on working with Cai Guo-Qiang to realise a shared vision for the exhibition spaces.


Wayne Crothers is Senior Curator of Asian Art at the National Gallery of Victoria and has been part of the NGV team for 10 years. He is the lead curator of Terracotta Warriors & Cai Guo-Qiang and was integral to the development of the exhibition, from concept to final display.

Associate Professor Claire Roberts is an art historian and curator specialising in modern and contemporary Chinese art. She is Associate Professor of Art History and ARC Future Fellow in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne and has published widely on Chinese art and curated numerous exhibitions.

Professor Charles Green is Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Melbourne, and an authority in contemporary international and Australian art, on biennials and on artist collaborations. His latest book, co-authored with Anthony Gardner, is Biennials, Triennials and Documenta: The Exhibitions that Created Contemporary Art, Blackwell Wiley, 2016. He is also an artist, working in collaboration with Lyndell Brown since 1989.

Ingrid Rhule is an Exhibition Designer who leads the in-house design studio at the National Gallery of Victoria. For Cai Guo-Qiang: The Transient Landscape, she and her team worked in close collaboration with the studio of Cai Guo-Qiang to develop the layout and overall design of the spaces to house his works, alongside the Terracotta Warriors.

Melbourne Masterclasses for Melbourne Winter Masterpieces

As part of the University of Melbourne’s Learning Partnership with the National Gallery of Victoria’s Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition Terracotta Warriors & Cai Guo-Qiang, the Faculty of Arts is delighted to present the sixth iteration of our annual Melbourne Masterclasses at the NGV.

In this ongoing annual series, world-leading experts from both the University’s Faculty of Arts and the NGV come together to offer insights and critical discussion through short lectures, panel discussions and gallery floor talks.

While focussing separately on the two components of this exhibition, each session will reflect the exhibition’s fluid temporality and interconnectedness, exploring how China’s past illuminates the present, and positioning the Terracotta Warriors and Cai Guo-Qiang in an international context.

Also in this series
Melbourne Masterclass: The Terracotta Warriors


Ellie Clay
Public Programs and Events Coordinator
Phone: +61 3 8344 2543


Tile image on homepage

Portrait of Cai Guo-Qiang, 2009
Photograph © Mark Mahaney

Banner image

Cai Guo - Qiang, artist, inside Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality | Cai Guo-Qiang: The Transient Landscape a NGV International, 24 May - 13 October 2019. Photo credit: Eugene Hyland.