QAGOMA presents Cai Guo-Qiang: Falling Back to Earth

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‘My work is like a dialogue between unseen powers, like alchemy’ – Cai Guo-Qiang

‘This will be one of the most important shows GOMA has ever presented’ – Alexandra Munroe, Samsung Senior Curator of Asian Art, Guggenheim Museum, New York

‘The Real Deal, a creative force’ – New York Times

‘He works in big concepts, he really is an artist who creates events’ – Russell Storer, Curatorial Manager, Asian and Pacific Art, QAGOMA

‘An extraordinary artist of our time’ – Alexandra Munroe, Samsung Senior Curator of Asian Art, Guggenheim Museum, New York

The Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane will present ‘Cai Guo-Qiang: Falling Back to Earth’, a major exhibition by one of the world’s most significant contemporary artists, from 23 November 2013 to 11 May 2014.

For his first solo exhibition in Australia, Cai Guo-Qiang shifts his focus away from the cosmos and back to the Earth we inhabit, while maintaining his ongoing interest in the transformative forces that impact on and flow out of human life: science and faith, beauty and violence, history and current events. At the centre of the exhibition is the theme of humanity’s relationship with nature, inspired by the unique landscapes of Queensland and Chinese literati (scholarly) painting and poetry.

‘Falling Back to Earth’ premieres two spectacular new commissions. Heritage 2013, which will be acquired for the Gallery’s renowned collection of contemporary Asian art, is an installation of 99 life-like replicas of animals from around the world, drinking together from a pristine lake that evokes the sand islands of Brisbane’s Moreton Bay. Eucalyptus 2013 comprises an enormous gum tree that extends along GOMA’s central Long Gallery, in response to Cai’s encounter with the ancient Antarctic beaches of Lamington National Park in southeast Queensland. One of Cai’s signature works, Head On 2006, will also be included in the exhibition, showing in Australia for the first time.

‘Falling Back to Earth’ will include an interactive exhibition and illustrated book for children, developed together with Cai, along with Tea Pavilion, a contemplative space designed by the artist, with furniture and other elements made from a reclaimed eucalyptus tree. The space will feature regular Chinese tea ceremonies along with video that will provide context for the exhibition.

Cai Guo-Qiang was born in Quanzhou, China, in 1957. He lives and works in New York City.

‘Cai Guo-Qiang: Falling Back to Earth’ is presented by Tourism & Events Queensland & Santos GLNG Project, and is on view at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) until 11 May 2014.