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Cai Guoqiang unveils his serene side in art show

Updated: 2013-11-22 21:19
By Ou Shuyi in Brisbane, Australia ( chinadaily.com.cn)

Cai Guoqiang unveils his serene side in art show

Heritage, the show’s centerpiece, takes up 1,100 square meters and features 99 life-size replicas of animals from around the world, including pandas, tigers, bears, giraffes and kangaroos, all drinking at a water hole surrounded by white sand. Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn

For Cai Guoqiang, many of his artworks are born with a “bang”. The explosive artist has painted the sky with gunpowder and flames in his signature art projects across the globe.

But his debut solo show in Australia is an exception - no explosions, no fireworks and no bangs at all.

Cai Guo-Qiang: Falling Back to Earth opened in an unexpectedly poetic and serene way at Queensland Art Gallery, also known as Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane on Nov 22.

Soothing music performed by aboriginal didgeridoo performer William Barton and Taiwan-based Nanguan (southern pipe music) musician Wang Xinxin was a perfect backdrop for visitors to enjoy the artworks on display.

Instead of exciting the audience with thunderous explosions, Cai kept reminding visitors to the opening ceremony that the best way to enjoy the exhibition was to avoid the crowds and sit in a quiet corner to experience the serenity he sought to convey.

“I’m shifting my focus from the universe and cosmos back to Earth, although the aesthetic is still the same,” Cai explained.

“It is still surreal and poetic, and I’m still interested in the unseen spirituality. I’m now thinking more about the Earth, our surroundings and the physical world.”

The exhibition features three major installations that are momentous in scale.

Heritage, the show’s centerpiece, takes up 1,100 square meters and features 99 life-size replicas of animals from around the world, including pandas, tigers, bears, giraffes and kangaroos, all drinking at a water hole surrounded by white sand.

Seemingly a peaceful gathering of predator and prey, the menagerie conveys solemnity in a lyrical utopian vision, Cai explained.

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