Brilliant, provocative, poetic. It’s the description of Ai Weiwei, one of the most popular Chinese artists abroad who is involved in sculpture, installation, architecture, photography, cinema, and is also an activist,.
He has gained a great reputation around the world as the creator of the “Bird’s Nest”, the Beijing Olympic stadium and, and after becoming well known, even his works acquired a huge critical and commercial value. But his fame is also due to his political activities. Member of the Tunisian protest called Jasmine Revolution, Al Weiwei, through his blog, pledged to denounce scandals, defending the victims of tragedies.
In May 2008, after the earthquake that hit the province of Sichuan making more than 80,000 dead, Ai Weiwei has created a group of dozens of volunteers to draft a list of children who died crushed by their schools. The victims, at the behest of the Chinese government, were always remaining anonymous, and it was accused of impudence and wanting to ignore the suffering of the citizens.
Since 2009, Ai Weiwei has tirelessly denounced the arrest of many bloggers, writers and lawyers involved in the defense of civil rights. In 2013 at the Venice Biennale, Al Weiwei presented his work S.A.C.R.E.D. (Super, Accusers, Cleansing, Ritual, Entropy, Doubt), arousing great critical acclaim. Today Ai Weiwei’s life is restricted; he is not allowed to leave his house without a special authorization.
On September 23rd, at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence inaugurated an exhibition dedicated to this great Chinese artist called “Ai Weiwei. Libero”. The exhibition hosts installations, sculptures, videos and photo series and is a complete retrospective of the art world of Ai Weiwei and, in other words, a sort of biography.
The works exhibited retrace the Chinese artist’s history, starting with the New York period between the Eighties and Nineties, in which Al Weiwei was influenced by his “masters” Andy Warhol and Marcel Duchamp, to the works of the new millennium, made of assemblies of materials and objects. There are his most political and controversial works such as portraits of political dissidents in LEGO or recent projects on migration in the Mediterranean.
The exhibition is an extraordinary opportunity to discover the creative genius of Ai Weiwei. In his works the artist plays between ancient and contemporary, showing an ambivalent relationship with their country. His works recall the Chinese tradition with a deep sense of belonging, but from them emerge a strong sense of rebellion; often Al Weiwei treats images and metaphors of culture Chinese denouncing the contradictions between individuals and society in the contemporary world and especially in the Chinese society.
Official website: www.palazzostrozzi.org/mostre/aiweiwei/.
Credits preview photo: mincioedintorni.com.