Tag Archives: Ai Weiwei

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

IMG_8066“Good fences make good neighbors” // Ai Weiwei // Photographs by Erin Fong

Ai Weiwei’s latest public work in New York City was a large fence resembling a bird cage centered in the middle of the Washington Square Arch. Visitors who wished to pass under the arc had to walk through the fence. But, once inside the arch, you are also in the middle of a cage. Trapped in the Washington Square Arch. You can of course walk out the cage, but the feeling of entrapment stays. The theme of freedom lost is frequently addressed in Ai Weiwei’s work, though this one allows for the audience to play an active roll in understanding the meaning of his work. 

IMG_8068“Good fences make good neighbors” // Ai Weiwei // Photographs by Erin Fong

 

 

Cubes & Trees

fullsizerender-15Trees // Ai Weiwei

Cubes and trees. What an interesting combination. What does it even mean? Well, they are each a series by artist Ai Weiwei and can be seen at Heong Gallery in Cambridge’s Downing College. Ai Weiwei’s trees are created by combining existing real tree branches together with large nuts and bolts. For his cubes, the ones on view are composed of four different materials: wood, crystal and tea. What do you prefer? Cubes or trees?

FullSizeRender-20.jpgTrees // Ai Weiwei

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Cubes // Ai Weiwei

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Crystal Cube // Ai Weiwei // 2014 // crystal

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Treasure Box // Ai Weiwei // 2014 // Huali wood

Sculpture in the City

FullSizeRender-2Charity // Damien Hirst // Painted Bronze // 6858 x 2438 mm

When walking through the financial district in London it is natural to look up. The tall buildings such as the Shard and the Gherkin are modern architectural structures that tower above the historic buildings such as St. Pauls Cathedral. However, I urge you to look around next time you find yourself near these buildings as there is currently a sculpture exhibition spread through this part of the city. Titled Sculpture in the City, this display of works is part of London’s Cultural Strategy and features artists such as Damien Hirst, Bruce Beasley, Shan Hur and Ai Weiwei. There are twelve sculptures. How many have you found?

FullSizeRender-10Forever // Ai Weiwei // Stainless steel // 728.6 x 1603.8 x 397.9 cm

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Breakout II // Bruce Beasley // Bronze // 145 x 229 // 61 cm

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 Broken Pillar #12 // Shan Hur // 2015 // Steel, concrete, ceramic & granite // 32 x 32 x 302 cm

 

Is that Ai Weiwei?!

IMG_9711The Death of Marat // He Xiangyu // 2011 // Painted fiberglass, silicone, fabric, human hair & leather // Ed. 1 of 3

OH MY GOODNESS. Is that man okay?! I cautiously approached him. My mind was racing. Why didn’t anyone go help him. Then it hit me, omg this man looks like the contemporary artist Ai Weiwei. This life-size and highly realistic man looks exactly like Ai Weiwei. This work, located in the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, is titled The Death of Marat after the famed painter Jacques-Louis David’s painting The Death of Marat in 1793 which depicted the martyred politician who was stabbed to death in his bathtub during the Reign of Terror. He Xiangyu was inspired by Ai Weiwei persevering through the revocation of his passport and imprisonment and decided to create a work of art to honor him. I think this striking piece is extremely effective don’t you?

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Bicycle & Flowers

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Chained to a black fence outside the Royal Academy in London rests a black bicycle with a basket of flowers. To someone walking by, it could be mistaken for a visitor’s bike, someone who locked up their mode of transportation while they visit the collection. However, this bike is not one for recreation. It serves as a reminder of Ai Weiwei. When his passport was revoked on November 30, 2013, Ai kept his bike outside his studio and placed a fresh bouquet of flowers in its basket every morning until he was given back his passport on July 22, 2015. A bicycle with a basket of flowers is now parked outside of the Royal Academy, where his retrospective show is located, as a tribute to Ai Weiwei.

Donate a Lego

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Calling all lego lovers! Ai Weiwei is calling for a favor! If anyone has spare lego blocks, Ai Weiwei is asking anyone to donate their pieces for his next art installation at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. His work will address freedom of speech and be made out of legos. So why is he asking you to donate a lego? After Ai was unable to obtain a bulk set of legos due to his piece’s political message, he decided to ask his fans for a little help. If you feel inclined, come by the Royal Academy in London or any of the other drop off locations. The location at the RA happens to be a cherry red 5 Series BMW. Ai also asked fans to borrow their cars to use as the lego drop box. Simply place your legos through the sun roof and wait to see what Ai creates.

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Enjoy Art

IMG_2579Coca Cola Vase // Ai Weiwei // 2014 // Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) // Vase with paint // 42 x 42 x 35 cm

“Enjoy Coca-Cola” is a slogan known all around the world. As someone who loves Coca-Cola, I was immediately drawn to Ai Weiwei’s Cocoa Cola Vase [now on view in the Royal Academy of Art in London]. The vase is not one Ai Weiwei created. Instead, it is a Han Dynasty vase that Ai painted over with the famed international logo. By painting over a historic ceramic to create a new work of art, Ai questions society’s view of what is important. Was the work more valuable before Ai painted it or after? This poses an interesting question on what society deems worthy. Ai doesn’t stop with the Coca Cola Vase. He continues this idea with his series of sixteen vases, twelve from the Han Dynasty and four Neolithic, that he dips in various colors of industrial paint.

IMG_7080Colored Vases // Ai Weiwei // 2015 // Twelve Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) and four Neolithic (5000-3000 BC) vases with industrial paint // dimensions variable

Sex Toys

IMG_1320Sex Toys // Ai Weiwei // 2014 // Jade

Is that what I think it is? It can’t possibly be. It’s on a wood pedestal covered in glass in the Royal Academy of Art in London. But it is. It is in fact a sex toy. But not one. There are two. But it looks so delicate. These sex toys are not made of ordinary materials. They are carved in jade by contemporary Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. By using an expensive material such as jade, Ai Weiwei plays with our idea of everyday consumer products made in a not so everyday material. Interested in seeing more of Ai Weiwei? The Royal Academy of Art currently has a retrospective of his work on view until December 13. Go see these toys as well as many other works!