2013: GOMA turns 10 countdown


With GOMA turning 10 in just a couple of weeks, we look back at one of the most dramatic exhibitions held at GOMA. ‘Cai Guo-Qiang: Falling Back to Earth’ (23 November 2013 – 11 May 2014) showcased major new works by a global artist whose large-scale installations and explosion events have made him one of the most innovative figures in contemporary art. This exhibition was the artist’s first solo exhibition in Australia and a GOMA exclusive.

‘Falling Back to Earth’ both spectacular and meditative, presented a beautiful, thought-provoking vision of our relationship with the earth and with each other. Four installations featured two new commissions directly inspired by the landscapes of southeast Queensland, which the artist visited in 2011.


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Cai Guo-Qiang, China b.1957 / Heritage 2013 / 99 life-sized replicas of animals: polystyrene, gauze, resin and hide / Commissioned 2013 with funds from the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Diversity Foundation through and with the assistance of the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © The artist

The centrepiece of the exhibition — Heritage 2013 — featured 99 replicas of animals from around the world, gathered together to drink from a blue lake surrounded by pristine white sand, reminiscent of the lakes of Moreton Bay’s islands. Heritage was acquired for the Gallery’s Collection with the generous support of the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Diversity Foundation through and with the assistance of the Gallery’s Foundation.

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Installation view of Eucalyptus 2013
Cai Guo-Qiang / Installation view of Head On 2006 at the Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane / Deutsche Bank Collection, commissioned by Deutsche Bank AG / © FMGBGuggenheim Bilbao Museoa, 2009

The second installation, Eucalyptus 2013 responded to the ancient trees of Lamington National Park in the Gold Coast hinterland, while the third, Head On 2006 is a striking installation of 99 wolves leaping en masse into a glass wall, displayed for the first time in Australia.

May King Tsang preparing tea and demonstrating the process for Gallery visitors during a gongfu ceremony in GOMA’s Tea Pavilion

The fourth installation, the Tea Pavilion was conceived by the artist and located within the heart of the exhibition, the Tea Pavilion was a space to learn more about the history and significance of Chinese Tea and also a place to reflect on the works on display.

Cai Guo-Qiang: Falling Back to EarthExhibition publication

Go into the draw to win the 204 page publication Cai Guo-Qiang: Falling Back to Earth featuring essays by Australian and international authors, with the artist’s new works extensively documented through spectacular installation photography . Cai Guo-Qiang also writes on a significant, but lesser-known, aspect of his practice – his collaborations with children. The publication traces Cai’s unique history with QAGOMA, as one of the first public institutions to collect the artist’s work. It also follows his early career inclusion in the ‘Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art’ (1996 and 1999). Value $49.95

Cai Guo Qiang / Blue dragon & bridge crossing / Project commissioned for the 3rd Asia-Pacific Triennial 1999 | ©: The artist

The Children’s Art Centre also presented ‘Cai Guo-Qiang Kids: Let’s Create an Exhibition with a Boy Named Cai’ where you could make and display objects in miniature gallery spaces, create spectacular multimedia gunpowder drawings and fireworks events and watch a short film written by Cai Guo-Qiang about art and adventure.

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Remember these major GOMA exhibitions from 2013? ‘Voice and Reason’ (18 May 2013 – 21 April 2014) considered our Indigenous Collection from numerous points of cultural intersection, highlighting contrasting voices and drawing attention to the reasoning, knowledge and experience behind the work; ‘Earth and Elsewhere’ (25 May 2013 – 27 January 2014) brought together works from the Gallery’s contemporary collection that highlighted the way artists frame the past to help us understand the delicate connections between memory, history and empathy.; ‘My Country, I Still Call Australia Home: Contemporary Art from Black Australia’ (1 June – 7 October 2013) examined the strengths of the Gallery’s holdings and explored three central themes — presenting Indigenous views of history (My history), responding to contemporary politics and experiences (My life), and illustrating connections to place (My country).; and ‘Death and Life: Rakuny Ga Walnga: Contemporary Arnhem Land Art’ (25 May – 1 September 2013) was the Gallery’s first Collection-based exhibition dedicated to contemporary art from Arnhem Land.