‘Falling Back to Earth’, is the first solo exhibition by Cai Guo-Qiang at the Gallery and invokes the spirit of Tao Yuanming (Tao Qian, 365–427), an ancient scholar–official who turned his back on government duty and returned ‘home’ to a life of reclusion in nature. His poems of rustic living and rural utopia have inspired Chinese brush‑and‑ink painters for centuries. In this exhibition, the shift of emphasis in Cai’s work is away from gunpowder drawings and explosion events (representing the symbiosis of destruction/creation) and towards a more grounded engagement, with motifs drawn from the natural world. Read more on our blog
Image: Cai Guo-Qiang, b.1957 China / Installation view of Heritage 2013 / Commissioned for ‘Cai Guo-Qiang: Falling Back to Earth’, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, 2013 / Purchased for the Queensland Art Gallery Collection with funds from the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Diversity Foundation through and with the assistance of the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery
Spanish Spiral: 6/13 - Sevilla
The mix of Gothic and Moorish in the gateway from Sevilla Cathedra; and a bell at the top of the Giralda Tower. The tower - now a spire of the Cathedral - was built by the Moors as a minaret and watchtower. The internal ramp around the square core was designed wide enough to race a horse up to the top.
One of the lovely aspects in Sevilla was seeing young girls going off to dance classes - but unlike the ballet costumes that they might wear elsewhere, they were all dressed in Flamenco dresses!
Spanish Spiral: 5/13 - Cordoba
This ancient capital of Muslim Spain contains the amazing Mezquita Cathedral. Unlike most other mosques that were converted to churches after conquest, the Cordoba cathedral kept the mosque hardly changed physically; the interior is a forest of lollipop striped arches on columns.
The structure also encloses a huge courtyard: the Patio de Narajas (Court of the Oranges), which is filled with oranges trees. And filled with everybody else too - it is just one of those great spaces where Spaniards love to congregate and enjoy life together.
Spanish Spiral: 4/13 - The Alpujarras
After Granada we took a slight detour into the Alpujarras - the foothills of the (original!) Sierra Nevada ranges in south-eastern Spain - had us spent the night in the tiny village of Capileira. It was meant to have been longer, but by not pre-booking for a long weekend saw us only able to secure the Friday night.
This peaceful looking area saw two Moorish uprisings against Spain, following the defeat of Moorish forces by the Spanish in 1492. The steep hills are apparently still irrigated by the channels and techniques developed by the Moors, over 500 years ago.
Spanish Spiral: 3/13 - Granada
An overnight train trip from Barcelona saw us in the deep South, in Andalusia.We arrived very tired, but once we found our accommodation, in a 16th Century house with a tiled courtyard, we were quite content.
Although there are lot of interesting things in Granada (like the Royal Chapel with a great little art gallery - it includes a Botticelli) the really outstanding part is the Alhambra and Generalife Gardens. One site combines fortress, palace and luxurious gardens. Architecturally it is one of most important Islamic locations anywhere.
Cuban artist and creative director Erik Ravelo is used to having his artwork censored. He was, after all, the man behind United Colors of Benetton’s UnHate campaign, which featured doctored photos of world leaders making out.
|—||James Joyce, from A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.|
Wow! I just finished reading the excellent children’s book, The Lost Thing by Shaun Tan (2000). I really loved it, particularly all the illustrations. The top image is from the cover, and is based on the image below: The Cahill Expressway, by Jeffrey Smart (1959).
Spanish Spiral: 2/13 - Barcelona
Next step Barcelona - how could I imagine capturing this city in a finite number of images? I assume everyone has already seen images of the Sagrada Familia cathedral, Gaudi’s other modernisme masterpieces, the seafront, the old cathedral…Here I focus on the people - above the famous Ramblas mall - full of people (for me, sometimes just too many people), and below, the serious business of food.
We loved Barcelona. But an odd experience on our first morning there, was meeting another Australian couple at the laundromat, who had arrived the day before and hated the place, and couldn’t wait to leave. To quote Joni Mitchell: “where some have found their paradise, others just come to harm…”
|—||Carlos Ruiz Zafón, from Shadow of the Wind, as quoted in Proust and the Squid: the story and Science of the Reading Brain, by Maryanne Wolf.|