Finally went to see Weiwei's exhibition at the Royal Academy of the Arts. it was just a second day since the exhibition has started and it was so crowded there. i was glad to see a nice variety of his work. new things such as 'BICYCLE CHANDELIER 2015' 'FREE SPEECH PUZZLE 2014' 'COCA COLA VASE 2014' and old ones as well as 'HANGING MAN 1986' 'TABLE WITH THREE LEGS 2011' 'KIPPE 2006' 'STRAIGHT 2008-12' 'SHANGHAI STUDIO MODEL 2011' 'HE XEI 2011' 'FRAGMENTS 2005'.
Despite the fact that Ai Weiwei has been written out of history in China and his name doesn’t even come up on the Chinese version of Google, the story of Chinese political power is everywhere in this show. Maps etched out in steel bars and temple fragments create a new perspective on the country and allow visitors to wander through the borders with a freedom that most Chinese citizens never experience. It’s poignant for an artist that began life in a labour camp where his father was cleaning municipal toilets for his criticism of Communism, that his work comments on the struggle of past generations for political and social freedom.
The Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei is in London for a major retrospective of his work at the Royal Academy of Arts. Ai Weiwei had initially been refused a six-month visa by the British government and was not expected to attend. The exhibition looks at the last 20 years of his work, including political pieces relating to his time under arrest in China and to the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.
The activism and the art are one, Ai has said; and almost all the art in this show speaks to the conditions of Chinese life. Over the years, Ai has employed a vast team of compatriots to expand this point. There is a lot of renovated pop here – Chinese vases dipped in high-chrome paint, Coca-Cola crassly inscribed on a 2,000-year-old bowl (raising the obvious question of whether the artefact would now be more or less valuable). Presumably this must have special significance to Chinese viewers, but it feels otherwise commonplace. Pop, as if we didn’t know it, became a convenient megaphone for propaganda.
In some respects, what’s on show at the Royal Academy are the relics of a lifetime’s performance art. Straight: ‘a solemn and poignant commemoration’. Facebook Twitter Pinterest Straight: ‘a solemn and poignant commemoration’. It is no surprise that the strongest works here are the largest – Ai is at his best on a grand scale – and the most searingly political.
He makes great sculptural objects from Chinese antique furniture and timber reclaimed from destroyed temples. One is composed of ironwood, some parts of which are nearly four centuries old, and looks like a laid-out mattress on the floor and at the same time a map of China. Where Straight has problems of form and content, this work, entitled Bed, is satisfying and could be returned to repeatedly and always seem surprising. It’s a marvel. Separate parts are joined using hidden mortise-and-tenon joints. Beautiful and thoughtful.It sustains a set of teasing ideas: what is a nation, how can things of different ages fit together?
I really enjoyed the whole exhibition and it was particularly interesting for me as my the most recent project was on his concepts. This exhibition has fully introduced me to his work and i just loved that even though so many people especially from china are against his art and it's forbidden, ai still makes what he wants to make and what he wants to show people. mi think that this is very important for an artist, when you do what you want because it truly opens your mind and imagination. nothing restricts your ideas..
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