Ford Tauruses are Suspended Mid-Air at Seattle Art Museum

SEATTLE—When you visit the Seattle Art Museum, the first thing you will see is suspended transportation. In the light-filled lobby where you buy tickets, a series of Ford Tauruses is floating in mid-air. Look up and it appears as though they are racing through the museum with fireworks emitting from their windows.

The installation is both captivating and absurd. But it is hard not to marvel at it—which you can from each floor of the museum—and wonder about its meaning and the artist’s motivation in creating it.

“Inopportune: Stage One” is one in a series by Cai Guo-Qiang. Born in China, he lives and works in New York, where he has created similar projects. According to the museum, the concept is as follows: “a sequence of objects is set in motion in space, often acted upon by an invasive force—cars shot through by lights, texidermied tigers pierced by arrows, or a pack of stuffed wolves that collide into a glass wall. Time appears suspended in animation…” It is up to the observer to make sense of it all.

A fuller exploration of his dramatic work was recently featured at the Queensland Art Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art in Australia. “Cai Guo-Qiang: Falling Back to Earth” was on view from Nov. 23, 2013 to May 14, 2014.

All photos by Arts Observer

“Inopportune: Stage One,” 2004 (cars and sequenced multi-channel light tubes) by Cai Guo-Qiang.

Installation view from the lobby.

Installation view from gallery level.

Installation view from the lobby.

After a while, you begin to wonder about the gravity factor and the physics and engineering involved in making the installation possible. The cars are attached to the ceiling via these mechanisms.

Installation view from ground level.

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