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HOT: Cai Guo-Qiang: Falling Back to Earth, Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane

  When we visit Brisbane we always visit GOMA – the Gallery of Modern Art – which I consider to be one of the must-do attractions in Brisbane, with or without kids. Their latest special exhibition is Cai Guo Qiang: Falling Back to Earth. The exhibition requires an entry fee and only three large rooms, but they are very dramatic works from which invite more time spent exploring the finer details.

Cai Guo-Qiang Falling Back to Earth, Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, Stanley Place, Cultural Precinct South Bank, Brisbane (1)

Cai Guo Qiang is a Chinese artist and this exhibition is his first solo exhibition in Australia and a GOMA exclusive. The centrepiece and ‘wow' piece of the exhibition is Heritage 2013. The work features 99 replicas of animals from around the world, gathered together to drink from a blue lake surrounded by white sand. Both predators and prey drink together side-by-side, raising questions about how humans and animals should or can live together in harmony.

Cai Guo-Qiang Falling Back to Earth, Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, Stanley Place, Cultural Precinct South Bank, Brisbane (2)

Head On 2006 is a striking installation of 99 lifelike wolves leaping into a glass wall which was originally made for Deutsche Bank to make a statement about the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Cai Guo-Qiang Falling Back to Earth, Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, Stanley Place, Cultural Precinct South Bank, Brisbane (3)

Apparently at the Berlin Guggenheim it was shown with the wall as being invisible, which I think would have made it a more arresting piece.

Cai Guo-Qiang Falling Back to Earth, Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, Stanley Place, Cultural Precinct South Bank, Brisbane

The third work is Eucalyptus 2013 is a huge tree which was uprooted to make way for urban development in one of Brisbane's newest outer suburbs, Springfield. It's a response to the ancient trees of Lamington National Park in the Gold Coast hinterland. Seeing this beautiful, dead tree lying on its side in a pristine gallery was a thought-provoking testament to the effect of population growth and the rate of development.

Cai Guo-Qiang Falling Back to Earth, Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, Stanley Place, Cultural Precinct South Bank, Brisbane

While the exhibition is kid-friendly purely because the installations are so large and fantastical, in the Children's Art Gallery there are free interactive activities which relate back to the Cai Guo Qiang: Falling Back to Earth exhibition.

Cai Guo-Qiang Falling Back to Earth, Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, Stanley Place, Cultural Precinct South Bank, Brisbane

Called ‘Let’s Create an Exhibition with a Boy Named Cai‘ , it is an interactive artist project where children can make and display a paper boat, tree or animal, create gunpowder drawings and explosion events on the touch screen and watch a short animated film about the art and adventures of Cai Guo-Qiang.

Cai Guo-Qiang Falling Back to Earth, Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, Stanley Place, Cultural Precinct South Bank, Brisbane

The artist’s story, Let’s Create an Exhibition with a Boy Named Cai, is also an illustrated story book.

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Joyce Watts is a former intellectual property, IT and media lawyer turned serial entrepreneur.

As well as being the founder of TOT: HOT OR NOT she helps businesses with their SEO, email marketing & social media as BrightSmart.com.au; she owns an online bike store CycleStyle.com.au and develops and produces creative experiences for families via WheelieGoodFun.com. She used to publish another popular lifestyle and food blog called MEL: HOT OR NOT The decisive guide to Melbourne.

She lives in inner-city Melbourne with her husband, two children and seven bikes.

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