Wish You Were Here, Ai Weiwei Exhibit

61Wish You Were Here, Ai Weiwei Exhibit

Ai Weiwei is one of China’s most prolific and provocative contemporary artists.These works spotlight issues of freedom of expression, as well as individual and human rights both in China and globally. Many use minimal forms and methods, while others manipulate traditional furniture, ancient pottery, and daily objects in ways that question cultural values and challenge political authority. Ai is best known for projects such as his collaboration with Herzog & de Meuron on the 2008 Beijing Olympic National Stadium, as well as his embrace of the Internet and social media as a platform for his activism. Despite his arrest and eighty-one-day detention in 2011, Ai has continued to create art that transcends dualities between East and West.

71Wish You Were Here, Ai Weiwei Exhibit

This installation is part of a series of bicycle works by Ai recalling his childhood. He made the bicycles from stainless steel and omitted the handlebars and seat to create a minimal approach in both materials and form to suggest that in China the individual is often undervalued and seen only as part of the whole.

51Wish You Were Here, Ai Weiwei Exhibit

11Wish You Were Here, Ai Weiwei ExhibitWhen Ai visited the site of the 2008 earthquake in China’s Sichuan Province, he was horrified by the shoddy “tofu-dreg” construction of the schools that had collapsed in the quake and killed thousands of children. Outraged by the government’s inaction to identify those who died, he started his Citizens’ Investigation to compile a list of all the children had perished.

41Wish You Were Here, Ai Weiwei Exhibit

32Wish You Were Here, Ai Weiwei Exhibit

In He Xie, (installation above) Ai metaphorically represents the restriction of individual expression and freedom of speech in Chinese society. He xie, literally “river crab,” also sounds like the word for “harmonious,” which is part of the Chinese Communist Party slogan “The realization of a harmonious society.” He xie has thus come to refer to online censorship and the restriction of individual freedom of expression in Chinese society.

In November 2010, Chinese authorities announced that Ai’s new studio in Shanghai would be demolished. In response, Ai invited guests via Twitter to a feast of ten thousand river crabs to protest the government’s control of information. Placed under house arrest for his actions, he was unable to attend his own feast.

22Wish You Were Here, Ai Weiwei Exhibit

***beauty always comes from within, photos taken by Amanda Teague at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, xoxo behind the mirror***
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  • http://www.jessicagemma.com Jessica Gemma

    I LOVE the bicycles and the painted pots!!! Gorgeously cool.

  • http://www.shesdressingup.com/ She’s Dressing Up

    Oh, wow. Thanks for sharing his work!


    • http://behindthemirrorbeauty.com/ Behind the Mirror

      of course! thank you for reading along :)

  • http://lestylorouge.com/ Ashley White

    Wow, amazing exhibit! :)


  • http://blog.no-ordinary-stuff.com/ Sarah

    Thank you so much for this interesting article! As you might know I have chinese cultural background and therefor feel for the chinese population. The cultural revolution was one of the cruelest things ever and it’s a shame that an artist so visionary like Ai Weiwei is kept under all the time.

    • http://behindthemirrorbeauty.com/ Behind the Mirror

      I agree and this is why I think it is important to continue to promote his vision. I really appreciated the exhibit because it is not only featuring art but bringing awareness to global human rights issues.

  • http://www.queenofallyousee.com/ Shayne♥

    haha i love what he did when the government wanted to demolish his studio! very wise man. and base on his works hes good at thinking outside the box, he deserves more recognition :)

    • http://behindthemirrorbeauty.com/ Behind the Mirror

      I couldn’t agree with you more. I myself was not all that familiar with his work before the exhibit but had read a bit about him. I was blown away by his vision.

  • Coco

    Pure avantgarde!!
    Coco et La vie en rose / Bloglovin / Facebook

  • http://www.northernstyleexposure.com/ Northern style exposure

    Amazing photos! Wish I could take a trip and see it in person.

    • http://behindthemirrorbeauty.com/ Behind the Mirror

      Thank you. It really was quite moving in person. I believe the exhibit travels so it may be near you soon.

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