The Gallery of Modern Arts latest exhibition does not disappoint. 'Falling Back to Earth' features the work of Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang, arguably one of the worlds most innovative contemporary artists. Of the three installations featured in the exhibition, two are new works, Eucalyptus and Heritage. As you enter the exhibition an enormous Eucalyptus tree lays uprooted and suspended mid-fall to earth, stretching through the length of the large gallery room it fills. One can't help by approach the tree with awe, firstly at the practical concerns of moving such a giant into the space it rested, a feat in and of itself. And then at the striking beauty and contrasts expressed between nature and humanity. The viewer is invited to sit on log stumps to sketch and interact with the 31 meter tree, which was removed from an urban development near Springfield.
The beautiful and disquieting Heritage features 99 animal replicas from 5 continents, drinking side by side from a serene blue lake, surrounded by white sand - inspired by Cai's visit to Morton Bay's Islands. Concrete, steel and soil were excavated from the galleries foundations to create the lake, which is disturbed every so often by a drop of water from the ceiling, sending ripples through the still surface, as it falls back to earth.
The third installation in the exhibition, Head On, features 99 replica wolves hurtling themselves at a glass wall. The piece was created for the Guggenheim in Berlin in 2006 as a response to Cai's time in Berlin and is being shown in Australia for the first time. Said to be a metaphor for humanities ability to repeat it's own mistakes, the glass wall is the same height as the Berlin wall.
The exhibition also features an interactive children's component, where little ones can join in and create their own Cai Guo-Qiang inspired masterpieces. Running until the 11th of May, it is well worth the $15 admission fee. (Children under 12 are free.)