Ai Weiwei was born in 1957 in Beijing. He co-founded the avant-garde artists’ group Stars at the end of the 1970s before moving to New York in 1983. There he was a leading figure in the community of exiled Chinese artists, writers and musicians and became an active member of the American intellectual and artistic scene. In 1993 Ai Weiwei returned to China where he has worked not only as an artist, but also as a curator, architect and blogger. In recent years his activism for social change in China has increased, making him one of the most outspoken critics of the regime.
Ai Weiwei – Interlacing
Curated by Urs Stahel Ai Weiwei – Interlacing is the first major exhibition in Paris of photographs and videos by Ai Weiwei. It foregrounds Ai Weiwei the communicator – the documenting, analyzing, interweaving artist who communicates via many channels. Ai Weiwei already used photography in his New York years, but especially since his return to Beijing, he has incessantly documented the everyday urban and social realities in China, discussing it over blogs and Twitter. Photographs of radical urban transformation, of the search for earthquake victims, and the destruction of his Shanghai studio are presented together with his art photography projects, the Documenta project Fairytale, the countless blog and cell phone photographs. A comprehensive book accompanies this exhibition.
from 21 February to 29 April 2012
At the same time Magasin 3, Stockholm, presents Ai Weiwei in his first solo exhibition in Sweden. Curated by Tessa Praun, the exhibition focus on a number of Ai Weiwei’s monumental installations and his political work. A reading room which also include documentary films give visitors a chance to learn about his multifaceted efforts to foster social change in China—an activism that puts him on a collision course with the regime.
Ai Weiwei often refers to pre-revolutionary China and its cultural and craft traditions in his work. He seeks out iconic objects with great cultural and symbolic value for the Chinese, and then deliberately treats them with complete disregard for its worth or intended function. The artworks can be seen as commentary on the disdain that Mao’s Cultural Revolution showed the past as well as a way for Ai Weiwei himself to dispatch with conventional notions about art and its value. The works chosen for the exhibition all address Chinese socialism, mass production and global trade.
from 3 February to 10 June 2012