Saturday, February 25, 2012

First major exhibition of photographs and videos by Ai Weiwei opens at Jeu de Paume

Ai Weiwei is a Chinese contemporary artist who works in ceramics, photography, installations, film. He is also a political activist who speaks out against the Chinese government. Now through April 29, 2012 you can view the first major exhibit of his work at the Jeu de Paume gallery, in Paris, France.

During his New York years he concentrated primarily on photography. when he returned to China, he turned to social media such as blogs and Twitter to document social injustice in China. He documented with photographs the search for earthquake victims and the loss of his Shanghai studio. These photographs came to eventually form his project called Documenta project Fairytale, which contains blog and cell phone photographs.

Weiwei was jailed on April 3, 2011 because of his political activities against the government and then released on June, 22, 2011, but he is forbidden from leaving the county. 

Read more about Wei Wei at:

Art Daily

Ai Weiwei

Tate Modern: The Unilever Series: Ai Weiwei

From the Central Library's collection:

From its fascinating historical origins to its contemporary symbolic significance, every aspect of Ai Weiwei's beautiful and monumental work of art is explored in this illustrated volume that also guides readers through the highlights of the artist's career. Ai Weiwei's Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads features twelve large-scale bronze animal heads, each depicting a segment of the ancient Chinese zodiac. As a major work of public art, it is an extraordinary accomplishment in its own right. But as this book explains, the origins and motivation behind the piece are as compelling as the work itself. Ai Weiwei based the sculpture on a complex zodiac fountain that was built for an imperial retreat in eighteenth-century China. When the retreat was looted by European soldiers, the fountain's bronze animal heads were stolen--only seven of the twelve are known to survive. By reimagining the work Ai Weiwei confronts uncomfortable truths within Chinese and Western history. This book compares Ai Weiwei's work to the original zodiac heads; features interviews with Ai Weiwei conducted at various periods during the sculpture's development; offers a historical overview of the events surrounding the mountain's looting; and follows the trail of the original heads as they are sold and resold amidst political furor. The book tells the riveting story behind a highly acclaimed piece of modern art, while providing an introduction to one of our generation's most important artists.

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