I have been looking a lot at the work of the Chinese artist, designer, architect, and activist Ai Weiwei who creates magical installations that fuse east and west, old and new and very serious AND loopy into fantastical dreamscapes that are also stinging social commentary. Calling for the Chinese government to ease control over the individual, Weiwei’s outspoken and critical views of totalitarian states have gotten him into some hot water with Chinese officials over the years, but the rest of the world has fallen in love with him. I’m late to the table, but enjoying the meal thoroughly!
"Bamboo and Porcelain", 2008
The most popular brand of bicycle in China is called “Forever.” The symbolic form of infinity, created from a symbolic “thing” of the people, beautifully interwoven like magic, is really stunning to me.
The three images above are of the public sculpture “Template,” constructed from the wooden doors and window frames of Ming and Qing dynasty homes that were destroyed by the Chinese government during the vast building boom that was characterized as being part of China’s second Cultural Revolution. The piece was originally a tower standing tall, but the tower was thrown down by a violent windstorm. Weiwei both accepted and embraced this “new” installation as highly preferred to the original conception. Very “go with the flow,” huh?
The carved marble piece (above) is entitled, “Monumental Junkyard,” and it honors and immortalizes the heaps of trash that are commonplace in Beijing suburbs.
The Tate Liverpool in Liverpool, England commissioned the above fantastic work for the opening of their exhibition, “The Real Thing: Contemporary Art from China” in 2007.
It would be really cool to have the above chandelier in a very tiny New York City walk-up tenement apartment.
I adore this series of images as well. Not a symbolic “fuck you,” but an actual one, these are samples from a larger body of work in which the artist gives the finger to the representation of state power – from the White House to the Eifel Tower.