Friday, February 1, 2013

Ai Weiwei: According to What?

China's Ai Weiwei, now at the Hirshhorn (but only until the 24th of this month). A sizable exhibition that brought about a little sorrow, contempt, delight, and "hell yeah!" Delighted may not be the best word due to the weight of some work, but being charmed by the color and visuals could mask some of that material just for a second. 
Above on the ceiling, you can see the tiniest portion of Snake Ceiling (hundreds of backpacks in honor of young earthquake victims). 
According to What? (Installation of retrospective photographs)
Straight (20ft/38 tons of straightened rebar gathered from 2008 Sichuan earthquake wreckage.)

[The tragic reality of today is reflected in the true plight of our spiritual existence: we are spineless and cannot stand straight. -Ai Weiwei]

(I had a little variation of this sentiment not too long ago: see Paper 17.)

He Xie (porcelain river crabs)
Bowl of Pearls (Enormous porcelain bowls of freshwater pearls)
Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn (photo triptych) & Colored Vases (yes, millennia-old vases.)
Here's an emotive and informative piece from NPR regarding the exhibit. 
A fascinating day, and I never thought I would get to see Neolithic vases covered in such pretty paint.