Exhibition : Cai Guo-Qiang: Falling Back to Earth

QAGOMA, Brisbane

 Heritage, 2013. 99 life-sized replicas of animals, water, sand, drip mechanism. Dimensions variable. Photo: Lucy Rees 

Heritage, 2013. 99 life-sized replicas of animals, water, sand, drip mechanism. Dimensions variable. Photo: Lucy Rees 

 Installation view of the exhibition. Photo: Lucy Rees

Installation view of the exhibition. Photo: Lucy Rees

 Head On, 2006. 

Head On, 2006. 

 Cai Guo-Qiang. Photo: Lucy Rees 

Cai Guo-Qiang. Photo: Lucy Rees 

The title "Falling Back to Earth", was inspired by fourth-century poet Tao Yuanming's prose poem, Ah, Homeward Bound I Go! 

The exhibition is made up of three major installations. The concept for Heritage, 2013  was conceived during a research trip to Stradbroke Island in 2011. The artwork, which has been purchased by the museum, features 99 life-size animals drinking by a lake. The animals were created at a studio in Fujian Province under the guidance of Cai. To create the watering hole,  the museum excavated hundreds of cubic metres of concrete, steel and soil from the building's foundations. 

In 2011 Cai also visited the Lamington National Park in South East Queensland. The work in the main gallery, Eucalyptus, 2013 consists of a 30-metre long spotted gum tree suspended in mid air. 

Head On, 2006, features 99 wolves running into a glass pane. Commissioned for the Deutsche Bank Collection the work references the tumultuous history of Berlin. The work was in part inspired by Cai's thinking about the Berlin Wall and his view that barriers still existed within Berlin despite German reunification in 1990. We are told that the glass pane is the same height as the Berlin Wall. 

Cai has a long association with the Queensland Art Gallery, creating works for its second and third Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in 1996 and 1999. 

I was in awe of all the stunning natural scenery. Only later I realised that it was as if Queensland was one of the last paradises on earth. It implied the earth was in deep trouble
— Cai Guo-Qiang

Over the past 25 years, Cai Guo-Qiang has held solo exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum in New York. Following recent exhibitions in Qatar, Los Angeles, Copenhagen, Rio de Janeiro and Venice,  ‘Cai Guo-Qiang: Falling Back to Earth’ at the QAGOMA is the artist’s first solo exhibition in Australia. 

The exhibition runs from 23 November 2013 – 11 May 2014.