Ai Weiwei

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A collection of works by acclaimed Chinese conceptual artist, Ai Weiwei is currently on show at Sherman galleries, Paddington. The display, entitled Under Construction focuses primarily on two artworks by the artist. The installation piece named Through fills the entire exhibition room and is comprised of fragments of tables and temple pillars that date back from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Weiwei has reconstructed them so that the angular beams often impale the tables and lean against them.

His second major work featured within the exhibition is a three hour film entitled Fairytale, which documents his performance piece of the same name, completed for Documenta XII in Kassel, Germany last year. For this work Weiwei invited a diverse range of 1001 Chinese citizens, stemming from different ages and provinces to come to Germany and view Documenta XII as part of his performance. He arranged their passports and accommodation and even gave them spending money, allowing them to create their own plans. In correspondence with this, the artist also organized the importation of 1001 chairs from the Qing and also Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) to be situated around the city of Kassel throughout Documenta XII’s duration.

Weiwei studied at Beijing Film Academy and Parsons School of Design. After being born and raised in China he moved to the United States in his early 20s, where he lived for over a decade, before later returning to his homeland, where he currently lives and works. He helped design the National Olympic Stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and was the co-curator of Fuck Off, a notorious exhibition showcasing shocking Chinese art that coincided with the Third Shanghai Biennale in 2000.

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