Ai Weiwei - Various Works

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3 May- 16. July, 2011 at Lisson Gallery, London

Lisson Gallery is proud to present a major survey show of work by Ai Weiwei to be held across both Bell Street spaces, London. The broad selection of key works from the past six years was agreed with the artist at the beginning of 2011.

Highlights of the 13 works in the exhibition include Colored Vases (2010, 2009), groupings of Han Dynasty pots (from 200DC-220AD) covered in industrial paint. An expert in ancient Chinese ceramics, Ai’s continued desecration of individual vases can be seen as political comment on the organized destruction of cultural and historical values that took place during the Cultural Revolution, when everything old was replaced by the new. In questioning value and defacing tradition Ai is confrontin
g the legacy of past generations with the needs and experiences of the present. At the same time he gives a new perspective on contemporary commodifications.

With Surveillance Camera (2010), the artist memorialises the clunky apparatus of CCTV surveillance by replicating it in marble, medium of monuments and gravestones. Here Ai evokes themes of paranoia and voyeurism and the omnipotence of a ‘policing’ authoritative force. It underscores his own particular response to constant surveillance: making his life totally transparent through endless Twitter documentation. If everything is open there’s nothing to spy on.

Also on display will be a number of key video works including Chang’an Boulevard (2004) which records Beijing’s central boulevard - the site of military processions and a location associated with the Tian’anmen Square protests of 1989 - at a sequence of measured distances along its forty-five kilometre length from east to west. In a film lasting 10 hours and 13 minutes, Ai offers a prosaic but mesmerizing portrait of the road.

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