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Cai Guo-Qiang: Falling Back to Earth

Cai Guo-Qiang: Falling Back to Earth
Cai Guo-Qiang's exhibition Falling Back to Earth was something of a surreal experience. This large-scale installations and explosion artist has had Solo exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum in New York. Cai-Guo-Qiang-Falling-Back-to-Earth_04 Picture this, you are walking through the landscape and come across a ‘watering hole’, as Aussies would call it. There is no specific season, and it is no specific country or continent, you meet shoulder to shoulder with giraffes, buffalo, kangaroo, zebra, panda bears and other species, and every animal is peacefully drinking from the life source of water. Cai-Guo-Qiang-Falling-Back-to-Earth_07 Very aptly named, Heritage, this installation features 99 animals and is a something of a collective meditation, both in the actual installation and experiencing the installation. There is a peace in the silence of the installation in the massive GOMA space. I came out from the exhibition feeling serene and calm. GOMA sums this installation up perfectly;
"Both spectacular and meditative, 'Falling Back to Earth' presents a beautiful, thought-provoking vision of our relationship with the earth and with each other"
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Cai-Guo-Qiang-Falling-Back-to-Earth_04 Head On (2006) is a striking and somewhat intimidating installation of 99 wolves leaping en masse into a glass wall. Cai-Guo-Qiang-Falling-Back-to-Earth_05 What was so fascinating in this installation space, was listening to people's dialogue and conversation about the piece; “Were they real wolves, taxidermied?”, “How were they suspended?” and an array of other comments. For me it was all of these questions that buzzed around my head as the wolves, but was is one wolf or a pack? Cai-Guo-Qiang-Falling-Back-to-Earth_06 The reality was that this installation is confronting. It is intimidating, even scary. But at the same time it evoked real life analogies. It was like the static film-like frames of each wolf was a memory or experience. Cai-Guo-Qiang-Falling-Back-to-Earth_06 The juxtaposition of the two installations took me on a roller-coaster of internal thoughts and emotions. This is what art is all about! Love it! Cai-Guo-Qiang-Falling-Back-to-Earth_08
AUTHOR: Melissa Hoedel (Mel) IMAGES: courtesy of author

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