Saturday, September 28, 2013

art review: ai weiwei

summer has come and gone and my hiatus has come to an end ... i have collected lots of inspirations and wonderful memories this summer and i can't wait to begin the creative process again ... firstly before i post some new works, i want to share my experience a few weeks ago at ai weiwei's "according to what?" exhibition at the art gallery of ontario

ai weiwei is a chinese contemporary artist who is extremely outspoken especially after the sichuan earthquake of 2008 where thousands died ... he is currently not allowed to travel outside china due to his political activism

what i found interesting and discovered through a video interview they were playing is that most of the art aren't actually made by himself ... ai weiwei explains that he comes up with the ideas and then his team helps him make the ideas into reality ... seeing as most of his works are massive labour intensive undertakings, i can understand why ... also, his art seems to be more about the political message itself than the execution (unlike most other art genres) ... 

the "moon chest"(below left) features 7 wooden chests with circular openings ... they are positioned such a way that as you walk through the installation, you experience the many different phases of the moon ... this is one of the more visually pleasing pieces of the exhibition

snake ceiling, 2009
moon chest, 2008
the "snake ceiling" (above right) is a ceiling installation made with backpacks ... this is an inspiration from the approximately 5,000 children who perished from the sichuan earthquake 

dropping a han dynasty urn, 1995/2009

han dynasty vases from 2,000 years ago are featured in the photographs above and the piece below ... ai weiwei tries to portray the idea of challenging traditional beliefs for the development of new ideas ... yet the coloured vases show that a new modern layer cannot remove the original past that still exists below 

coloured vases, 2007-2010
rebar from collapsed sichua schools in the aftermath of the earthquake were used for the installation below

straight, 2008-2012

when most of us travel the world and visit tourist attractions, we take tons of photos sometimes just of the symbol and sometimes posing in front of it ... below are 3 examples of a series of photographs that ai weiwei takes in the same situation ... what do you think he is trying to say?