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Cai Guo-Qiang: Falling Back to Earth


Cai Guo-Qiang in front of gunpowder drawing Yellow Peonies, New York, 2012 | Photo by Shu-Wen Lin, courtesy Cai Studio

Head On

Cai Guo-Qiang / Installation view of Head On 2006 / Deutsche Bank Collection, commissioned by Deutsche Bank AG

May King

May-King Tsang, Tea expert – performing a Gongfu ceremony at the Tea Pavilion.


23 November 2013 – 11 May 2014
Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA)
Brisbane only

One of the most dramatic exhibitions held at GOMA, ‘Cai Guo-Qiang: Falling Back to Earth’ presents major new works by a truly global artist, whose large-scale installations and explosion events have made him one of the most innovative figures in contemporary art. Over the past 25 years, Cai Guo Qiang has held solo exhibitions at some of the world’s most prestigious art institutions, including 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, QAGOMA presents ‘Cai Guo-Qiang: Falling Back to Earth’ — the artist’s first solo exhibition in Australia and a GOMA exclusive.

‘Falling Back to Earth’, presented by Tourism and Events Queensland and Santos GLNG Project, features four installations, including two newly commissioned works directly inspired by the landscapes of southeast Queensland, which the artist visited in 2011. The centrepiece of the exhibition — Heritage 2013 — features 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 has been 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 Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation. The second installation, Eucalyptus 2013 responds 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 artificial wolves leaping en masse into a glass wall, on display in Australia for the first time.

Both spectacular and meditative, and presenting a beautiful, thought-provoking vision of our relationship with the earth and with each other, ‘Falling Back to Earth’ is a must-see exhibition.

‘Cai Guo-Qiang: Falling Back to Earth’ is not a timed ticketed exhibition. You are able to enter the exhibition anytime between 10am-4pm daily, with the exhibition and Gallery closing at 5pm. There is no restriction on the amount of time you spend in the space during the Gallery opening hours, you can even get a pass-out to re-enter the same day if you wish.

Read more on our Blog
Eucalyptus | How did the tree get into GOMA?
Heritage | Cai Guo-Qiang Heritage 2013 
Tea Pavilion | Mayking Tea at GOMA
Cai Guo-Qiang | At one with the universe
Falling Back to Earth | Cai Guo-Qiang's paradise regained
Cai Guo-Qiang | Who is Cai Guo-Qiang
Falling Back to Earth | QAGOMA previews Falling Back to Earth in Shanghai

Share your experience
Photography with hand-held cameras is permitted inside the exhibition space. Share your experience and connect with us on InstagramTwitter and Facebook 

Room Brochure
An exhibition room brochure is available to enhance your visit. English version | Chinese version 

QAGOMA Members
Become a QAGOMA Member to receive a free exhibition ticket.

Tea Pavilion

Conceived by Cai Guo-Qiang and located within the heart of the ‘Cai Guo-Qiang: Falling Back to Earth’ exhibition, the Tea Pavilion is a space where visitors can learn more about the history and significance of Chinese Tea. It is also a place where you can reflect on the works on display. 

Gongfu Chinese tea ceremony | 1.00pm and 2.00pm Sundays
Participate in a contemporary gongfu Chinese tea ceremony featuring Tie Guan Yin tea every Sunday in the Tea Pavilion. Brisbane-based tea consultant May-King Tsang will share insights into the history of Tie Guan Yin tea and the gongfu ceremony. 

Tie Guan Yin tea | Daily free tastings of cold-pressed tea
Sourced from Anxi in Cai Guo-Qiang’s home province of Fujian, China, Tie Guan Yin tea is a variety of oolong tea. Learn the history and origins of Tie Guan Yin tea, and the Chinese gongfu tea ceremony. 

Cai Guo-Qiang Kids: Let's Create an Exhibition with a Boy Named Cai

Children’s Art Centre, GOMA | Free admission

Young visitors learn about and participate in artist Cai Guo-Qiang’s exciting working methods to create their own exhibition. 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.

Also available is a beautifully illustrated story book developed in collaboration with Cai Guo-Qiang and published as part of the Gallery’s award-winning series of Children's Art Centre publications. Read more.


Media release | Ministerial release | English media kit | Chinese media kit

To request access to media images for this exhibition, please email
For a full listing of current media releases see the Media section