Cai Guo-Qiang  Head On (detail)2006  Deutsche Bank Collection, commissioned by Deutsche Bank AG  © FMGBGuggenheim Bilbao Museoa, 2009  Photo Erika Barahona-Ede

Cai Guo-Qiang | Head On (detail)2006 | Deutsche Bank Collection, commissioned by Deutsche Bank AG | © FMGBGuggenheim Bilbao Museoa, 2009 | Photo: Erika Barahona-Ede

Leading international contemporary artist Cai Guo-Qiang’s first solo exhibition in Australia will be staged exclusively at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) from November 23, 2013 to April 21, 2014.

A centrepiece of the exhibition is a dramatic new commission, Heritage 2013, which features 99 life-sized animals from around the world gathered together at a watering hole. Also featured is Head On 2006, with its stream of 99 life-sized wolves leaping through the air and crashing into a glass wall. Other new work in the exhibition is inspired by the artist’s experiences in Australia, drawing upon local landscape, history and culture. There will also be a special project devised by the artist for children.

Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) Acting Deputy Director of Curatorial and Collection Development Maud Page said ‘Cai Guo-Qiang: Falling Back to Earth’ would encompass all of GOMA’s ground floor, presenting Cai’s signature 2006 work Head On along with two new major site-specific installations and an interactive Children’s Art Centre project.

‘Cai has an enduring relationship with the Queensland Art Gallery, having created major works for the second and third Asia Pacific Triennials of Contemporary Art in 1996 and 1999, and we were among the first public institutions to collect his work,’ Ms Page said. ‘As one of the most senior and respected contemporary artists working internationally, his return to Brisbane to realise GOMA’s major summer exhibition for 2013–14 is highly anticipated. ‘With this site-specific project, Cai looks at Earth as the home that all humans share, exploring nature, globalisation, and ecological issues,’ she said.

Head On will travel to Australia for the first time, on loan from the Deutsche Bank Collection. Two new installations will respond to Cai’s visits to Queensland with his family, drawing on local landscape, history and culture, as the artist takes a new direction in his work.

Heritage 2013, an installation of 99 life-sized animal sculptures, including pandas, lions, tigers, and kangaroos, all drinking together from a lake surrounded by white sand, is inspired by a visit to Stradbroke Island, while the second installation draws inspiration from the ancient trees of Lamington National Park in South East Queensland,’ Ms Page said.

Trevor Brown, Vice President Queensland of exhibition presenting sponsor Santos, said it was exciting that Queensland would exclusively host new work by such an esteemed artist. ‘We are delighted that we can help bring the works of Cai Guo-Qiang to Brisbane,’ Mr Brown said. ‘Santos is proud to continue its support of the arts in Queensland through GOMA’s summer exhibition and Children’s Arts Centre.’

Cai Guo-Qiang was born in Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China, in 1957. He lives and works in New York City. His recent solo exhibitions and projects have included ‘Cai Guo-Qiang on the Roof: Transparent Monument’, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2006; his record-attendance retrospective ‘I Want to Believe’, at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York and the National Art Museum of China in Beijing in 2008 and the Guggenheim Bilbao in 2009; Odyssey, a permanent gunpowder drawing installation for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in 2010; and his first exhibition in the Middle East, ‘Cai Guo-Qiang: Saraab’ at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, Qatar, in 2011.

In 2012, the artist appeared in solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Zhejiang Art Museum, Hangzhou, China and the Faurschou Foundation in Copenhagen, Denmark. His latest exhibition, ‘Cai Guo-Qiang: Da Vincis do Povo’, opened jointly in February at the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil and Museu dos Correios in Brasilia, Brazil, and will continue touring to São Paolo and Rio de Janeiro. Cai was Director of Visual and Special Effects for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Ms Page said the artist’s collaboration with the Gallery around his installation Bridge Crossing in ‘The Third Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art’ (APT3) in 1999 was a landmark in the Gallery’s programming for children and families. ‘Cai has a special interest in working with kids, and has developed projects for children around the world. The Gallery’s work with him in APT3 helped set the direction for QAGOMA’s popular Children’s Art Centre and we look forward to developing the new project for young visitors with him as part of this exhibition,’ she said.

The exhibition will be ticketed and will coincide with ‘California Design 1930–1965: Living in a Modern Way’ at the Queensland Art Gallery (2 November 2013 – 9 February 2014). Individual tickets and joint ticket packages will be available. ‘Cai Guo-Qiang: Falling Back to Earth’ will be realised with support from Presenting Partner Tourism and Events Queensland and Presenting Sponsor Santos.

Cai Guo-Qiang, Heritage (artist’s impression) 2013  99 life-sized replicas of various animals, water, sand  Commissioned for the exhibition ‘Cai Guo-Qiang’, Queensland Art GalleryGallery of Modern Art  Courtesy and  © The artist

Cai Guo-Qiang, Heritage (artist’s impression) 2013 99 life-sized replicas of various animals, water, sand Commissioned for the exhibition ‘Cai Guo-Qiang’, Queensland Art GalleryGallery of Modern Art Courtesy and © The artist

About the exhibition

Exhibition period: 23 November 2013 – 21 April 2014 | Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) | Brisbane only | Ticketed

Opening Hours: 10.00am — 5.00pm Monday to Friday

9.00am — 5.00pm Saturday and Sunday

9.00am — 5.00pm Public Holidays

Closed Christmas Day and Good Friday

Courtesy of Gallery of Modern Art(GOMA), for further information please visit: qagoma.qld.gov.au/cai.

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