AI WEIWEI: ACCORDING TO WHAT?

other than food and visiting the fam, the major purpose of our trip back to VA this past weekend was to check out ai weiwei’s exhibit at Hirshhorn Museum.

ai weiwei is a chinese artist, poet, architect, curator, publisher, urbanist, collector, blogger, and political activist.

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these names are the names of children died in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. ai weiwei investigated government corruption such as the sichuan schools corruption scandals. all these schools collapsed during the earthquake because these buildings were poorly constructed.

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rusted steel rebar taken from the collapsed schools of sichuan
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he co-designed the bird’s nest Beijing National Stadium
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Grapes, constructed out of Qing dynasty wooden stools. the feet pointed outwards to protect a circle of power with build-in defenses.

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teahouse
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on the background, ai weiwei destroys a 2000-year old jar. these colored vases is a garish repainting of ancient ceramic shapes in modern neon.

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these are river crabs = he xie, in chinese, it is also a pun on the word of he xie =’harmonious’
it has something to do with the chinese government tries to create a harmonious society by censoring.

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there were a lot interesting photos at the exhibit. it’s hard to relate with ai weiwei’s work without a good understanding of chinese government and ai weiwei’s background.

i left the exhibit with a heavy feeling and a desire to find out more.

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for those who are interested, here is a documentary Ai WeiWei – Never Sorry

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22 thoughts on “AI WEIWEI: ACCORDING TO WHAT?

  1. So interesting and what an artistic way of expressing himself! Thanks for sharing. I met some American expats from Beijing while I was in Hong Kong. Their mail gets opened and most times confiscated.

  2. Great photos. I love Ai Weiwei’s work. If you haven’t already, I recommend watching Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry. It a doc that follows him and includes his search for all the names of the children that died in the Sichuan Earthquake, and plenty of clashes with the police and government.

  3. Great pictures from this awesome Chinese artist I discovered when he was setting up cameras in his apartment in protestation against Chinese Gov.
    Also great work on the colors of (all) your picture. 😉

  4. Great pictures!
    It’s true that the exhibition is really hard to understand when you don’t have much knowledge of the chinese government. I went there some weeks ago and even though the art was interesting, I felt like I didn’t get the bigger picture. I felt that his art was something that could only be understood if you knew the context in which it was produced.
    Nevertheless, I liked the chinese zodiac sign-thingy with the big animal heads at the entrance of the museum.

  5. I went to the exhibit only a few days before you! Great photos, in some cases I’m getting a better view than when I was actually there. I feel like the pottery was one of the strongest pieces, along with his x-rays and the photographs of the schools in black and white.

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