Ai Weiwei In The News Again

Ai Weiwei on Edward Snowden and the Excesses of Nationalism’, published on ArtInfo, the online portal of international art magazine group Louise Blouin Media, is more about the artist and his prowess than his thoughts on the Snowden affair. Nevertheless, Ai makes a couple of philosophical comments and the author describes what Ai has been up to recently, including his work for Germany at the Venice Biennale:

“I don’t have a national consciousness because I think that many countries are illegitimate,”

[…]In the German pavilion, Ai is showing an installation entitled “Bang.” The artwork is composed of over 800 traditional Chinese three-legged stools, which have been spliced together. Its complex structure and diverse surfaces fill the entire exhibition hall, as if incessantly calling attention to its occupation of the space.

[…]Ai is constantly planning and showing new artworks. Already this year, he has shown a mural devoted to Pablo Neruda, a milk map of China, dioramas recreating scenes from his internment, and a heavy-metal album produced by rock star Zuoxiao Zuzhou entitled “The Divine Comedy,” complete with a music video directed by Christopher Doyle. [Source]

A recent article in Interview Magazine christens Ai Wei Wei the heir to Andy Warhol’s legacy. It an overview of Ai’s artistic life, and recounts his days in New York in his early twenties, which is an interesting period not often covered by the press. It’s a useful introduction to the artist for those not so familiar with his work and his activism:

Not since Warhol has one artist brought so much revolutionary activity to the act of art-making. If Warhol’s activity targeted gender codes and brilliantly conflated the elite with the masses, 56-year-old Ai Weiwei’s cogent multimedia productions thrust the individual out of the multitude and personal freedom out of the state machine.

[…]He reached New York City at age 25 and quickly took to the Manhattan art and social scene as if it were his native soil. In the nine years he lived in the EastVillage, he crossed paths with counterculture luminaries such as Keith Haring and Allen Ginsberg, studied the radical impact of modernists like Warhol, and began producing his early work

[…]Ai has long utilized homegrown Chinese artifacts, practices, and forms in his productions, whether shattering a Han Dynasty urn on the floor, creating assemblages of bicycles into elaborate geometric formations, or bringing 1,001 Chinese citizens, most of whom had never previously left the country, to Kassel, Germany, for Documenta. [Source]

Ai Wei Wei is about to exhibit his baby formula work in Singapore, his first solo exhibition in the country. The Straits Times interviews the gallery owner who tries to predict how the Singapore audience will receive Ai Wei Wei’s work.


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