Friday, 14 January 2011

A Salute to Ai Weiwei

I have been promising myself for months to go and visit the Ai Weiwei "Sunflower Seeds" exhibition at Tate Modern, and even though I work close to the gallery, I found it difficult to get there and back in a lunch time. So after work tonight I went determined to experience this very unusual work for myself. Let me say from the start I found it very beautiful. We are no longer allowed to walk on it because of the dust it generates, but even with that restriction it was very special to look at. Sadder still is the story of Ai Weiwei who was put under house arrest by the Chinese government shortly after the commencement of this exhbition and now I hear that his studio was destroyed on 11 January 2011. His bravery amazes me. His Wikipedia article can be found here if you are interested. How I would love to have been able to roll around in that sea of porcelain seeds, just for the sheer hell of it!

On the way to Tate Modern. The Tate is the large building

on the left with the 'light-box' on its roof.

The dome of the majestic St Paul's Cathedral in the distance.

View from the high balcony looking down at Ai Weiwei's Sunflower Seeds.

Walking under the high balcony towards the exhibition.

My favourite taken with a timed shot. The height of the seeds is about six inches.

A slightly out of focus close-up

View from the far end showing the height of the Turbine Hall.

Video recording room where visitors can video record their

responses to the exhibition which are then relayed to Ai Weiwei.

Near the exit. The view down the ramp towards the exhibition.

If you walk under the balcony you reach the exhibition.

This is such a dramatic vista even though it's dark.


AutumnLeaves said...

Ok Anne...I'll admit this out loud only to you. This is one of those things that make me realize that I really am not an artist, much as I want to be. I really don't get the "art" part of this exhibition. Did you say these were ceramic seeds though? That is rather intriguing to think of someone making this many ceramic seeds...Talk about attention to detail! 'Course, I haven't heard of Ai Weiwei either though. I'm off to check out the link...

Anne C M Campbell said...

Sherry - there are hundreds, if not thousands who will admit out loud to everyone, that they don't get the "art" part of this. It is listed as a 'sculpture' and I feel it can be appreciated only in real life. However, it is the associations in the mind of the viewer that end up making it an artwork I suppose and there are many of those. I could go on, but it did have a sadness to it which I felt thinking of the unkown contributors in distant villages who painted the seeds. They were invisible and visible at the same time. Much to think about. :-)

Chartan said...

IMO it is an act of bravery just to put one foot in front of the other today. Especially if a person doesn't have a lot of money, and isn't dressed "right". A cop charged a Native Alaskan and shot him yesterday in Seattle, claiming he (the cop) felt threatened, The video in the police car tells otherwise. It is a sad world.

Anne C M Campbell said...

I agree Charlotte. The homogenised word just cannot stand difference and I feel it is going to get worse. I moan because I don't have a studio but I don't know what I would do if the security police came and trashed my creative space. Such venom! :-(