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Ai Weiwei, Rineke Dijkstra, Thomas Struth et al.

Stage of Being (group show)
Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar
9 December 2017 - 13 May 2018

Who are we? Where do we come from? What are we doing here? Where are we going?

We live in a world of progress: we know more and are capable of more, we live longer than ever before; maybe one day we will even achieve immortality. At the same time, we humans struggle with feelings of emptiness, loneliness and fear. Once, religion and ideology provided guidance and assuaged our doubts. Nowadays, we rely on self-help books, doctors, philosophers and coaches – but above all, on ourselves.

Artists in particular dare to face down the fundamental questions of existence. In fact: the very essence of art might be found in diffusing that existential, human fear. Art can hold up a mirror to mankind. This mirror is sometimes quite direct, raw and confrontational. And sometimes indirect, enshrouded in layers of meaning.

Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar


Additional:

Thomas Struth

Bernd, Hilla and the Others: Photography from Düsseldorf (group show)
Huis Marseille, Museum for Photography, Amsterdam
9 March - 3 June 2018

In the spring of 2018 Huis Marseille will be devoted to the so-called Düsseldorfer Photoschule, photographers who studied at the Dusseldorf Art Academy under Bernd and Hilla Becher or their successors Thomas Ruff and Andreas Gursky. The photographic vision of Bernd and Hilla Becher was so influential and successful that these photographers – also known as the Becher-Schüler – have left their stamp on contemporary photography from the mid-1970s onwards. Huis Marseille has a considerable collection of photographs from the Dusseldorf school. These will be presented in the exhibition alongside early, mostly unknown work by photographers such as Höfer, Ruff and Struth, as well as more recent work by young and upcoming photographers.

Huis Marseille, Museum for Photography, Amsterdam


Ai Weiwei

2050, A Brief History of the Future (group show)
National Taiwan Museum of Art, Taichung
24 March - 3 June 2018

2050 is a future point in time that has not yet arrived. Many projections of the future of humankind envision the changes and appearances of our lifeworld in the year 2050. These yet unarrived times and objects are not far from our present and combine the history we have once experienced with humankind’s goals and aspirations for an ideal future life, drawing a possible blueprint for the future. The exhibition 2050, A Brief History of the Future aims to discuss the future world by looking at the development of human material civilization. The exhibition invites a total of more than fifty participating artists from Taiwan and abroad to adopt an angle of thinking about and probing the future from the point of view of contemporary works of art in exploring many of the social issues in today’s world. The works are rich and diverse, and filled with many thought-provoking and inspirational new creations.

This is the first international exchange exhibition to be co-organized by the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts and the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. The exhibition is curated by Pierre-Yves Desaive, and its name and concept are inspired by A Brief History of the Future, published by French economist Jacques Attali. In A Brief History of the Future, Attali speculates on the future development of human history and describes the future international situation and changes in daily life based on known history and scientific viewpoints. Taking this as the starting point, the curator began to explore important topics such as the over-exploitation of natural resources, over-consumption, social inequality and religious wars in a world changed by the development of technology. He also expanded this curatorial framework to exhibit content in Taiwan, re-examining in greater depth all kinds of economic activity, the history of civilization in the context of technological developments, as well as the allocation of power and composition of ideologies. The exhibition outlines the relationship and dialogue between Taiwan and the exhibition’s main theme by showcasing East-West exchange and development during the Tang Dynasty, geopolitical and imperial power in the Age of Exploration, economic and political changes in Asia after the Cold War, as well as the market economy and technological development in the current era of globalization.

The original version of this exhibition was presented separately at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels, and the Louvre in Paris in 2016. For this exhibition in Taiwan, the curator has stayed true to the original curatorial context, exploring important issues of contemporary overexploitation of natural resources, overconsumption, social inequality and religious wars in a world changed by technological development. The exhibition extends and expands upon the above-mentioned framework to display in Taiwan a deep reexamination of various economic activities from the perspective of historical developments, as well as of the allocation of power, the history of civilizations in the context of technological development, and the composition of ideologies. Then, how humankind is facing a constantly evolving new future is looked at once again, as is the appearance of the world we have shaped.

National Taiwan Museum of Art, Taichung


Ai Weiwei

Hope is Strong (group show)
Millennium Gallery, Sheffield
17 February - 10 June 2018

With far right parties and hate crimes on the rise, civil liberties and minority rights seem more at risk today than we could have imagined. In these turbulent times, Hope is Strong explores the power of art to question the world we live in.

See work by one of the world’s foremost politically motivated artists, Ai Weiwei, alongside Jeremy Deller's The Battle of Orgreave Archive (An Injury to One is an Injury to All), chronicling the confrontations between police and striking miners in South Yorkshire.

Millennium Gallery, Sheffield


Thomas Struth

Nature Unleashed - The Image of Catastrophe since 1600 (group show)
Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg
29 June - 14 October 2018

In a large-scale exhibition spanning several epochs, the Hamburger Kunsthalle traces based on important works how artists working in different media picture natural catastrophes while also shedding light on humanity’s failure to come to terms with nature due, among other things, of our faith in technology. Nature Unleashed: The Image of Catastrophe since 1600 features approximately 120 exhibits, including paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, photographs, films and videos. As viewers make their way past blazing fires, earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions and sinking ships, they will take note of pictorial constants in the expression of such disasters but will also become aware of the differences in depiction from one era to the next. The show’s special appeal lies in the close juxtaposition of artworks created centuries apart. The trajectory of exhibited works spans an arc from the years around 1600 to the present day. Contemporary works serve to anchor the theme in the here and now and underline its topicality.

Catastrophes are omnipresent. The media constantly reports on natural disasters, acts of war, political upheavals and other crisis scenarios, characterising them all with the common term “catastrophe”. Catastrophes don’t just happen, they are made. It is only in our perception, in our active engagement with such drastic events that they take on distinctive contours and reveal their typical face. Every age makes its own catastrophes and redefines the criteria by which certain events are labelled as such. These fundamental observations form the basis for the exhibition project.

Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg


Ai Weiwei

Laundromat (solo show)
Garage Gallery, Fire Station, Doha
15 March – 1 June 2018

Ai Weiwei, Laundromat, 2012 © Ai Weiwei Studio
Ai Weiwei, Laundromat, 2012 © Ai Weiwei Studio

Ai Weiwei’s Laundromat is a traveling installation that brings the current European migrant crisis into sharp focus. The work is centered around a vast makeshift camp near the village of Idomeni, on the border with the Republic of Macedonia. As part of his recently released documentary Human Flow, Ai Weiwei has borne witness to the brutal plight of refugees worldwide. Therefore when the Idomeni camp was shut down in May 2016, and the thousands of refugees were displaced, Ai Weiwei and his team reverently collected, washed and organized the possessions they haphazardly left behind in an effort to preserve their tumultuous experience. Meticulously organized, the thousands of clothing items and accessories together with photographs and video are a moving and tactile testament to this international humanitarian emergency.    

Working in a wide range of media from architecture to social media, Ai Weiwei is renowned for elevating art practice into a call for action on major geopolitical issues impacting global communities.

Garage Gallery, Fire Station, Doha



Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei (solo show)
Mucem, Marseille
20 June – 12 November 2018

The Mucem is hosting Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, one of the major actors on the international art scene. The work of the photographer, architect, sculptor, performer, film-maker and social network activist combines Chinese thought with contemporary art, namely drawing his inspiration from Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol. His creations are able to challenge our societies with such force through his transformation of everyday objects into works of art.

Ai Weiwei is the son of Ai Qing (1910-1996), the famous Chinese poet who discovered the West in 1929 on disembarking at Marseille, on the docks of La Joliette, precisely the spot where the Mucem is located today.
This connection motivated the artist to take us on a voyage through time and his art, which he links back to his paternal lineage. Through the new resonances that emerge in this exhibition, we are able to view Ai Weiwei’s work in a new light.

His creations, placed in parallel with the collections at the Mucem, invite us to question opposing notions such as East and West, original and copy, art and craft, destruction and conservation. But above all, the artwork of Ai Weiwei also challenges the relevance of our own interpretations.

Mucem, Marseille


Thomas Struth

This Place (group show)
The Picker Art Gallery at Colgate University, Hamilton
1 February - 20 May 2018

This Place comprises the work of twelve photographers who, between 2009 and 2012, spent extended periods of time in Israel and the West Bank. Frédéric Brenner, Wendy Ewald, Martin Kollar, Josef Koudelka, Jungjin Lee, Gilles Peress, Fazal Sheikh, Stephen Shore, Rosalind Fox Solomon, Thomas Struth, Jeff Wall, and Nick Waplington each brought their own expertise and perspective to bear in developing their individual projects. Brought together in This Place, their photographs reveal a portrait of a land and its peoples that is complex, fragmented, and paradoxical.

The Picker Art Gallery will present works by four of the twelve photographers: Josef Koudelka, Rosalind Fox Solomon, Thomas Struth, and Nick Waplington. The exhibition is part of a collaborative project with the Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College, the University Art Museum at SUNY Albany, and the Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College. Each museum is exhibiting their portion of This Place concurrently. This experimental presentation underlines the intention of the organizers and institutions to offer the exhibition as a space of experimentation, questioning, and dialogue.

The Picker Art Gallery at Colgate University, Hamilton


Rineke Dijkstra

Rineke Dijkstra (solo show)
De Pont Museum, Tilburg
10 March - 22 July 2018

Rineke Dijkstra, Vondelpark, Amsterdam, June 19, 2005, 2005 © Rineke Dijkstra
Rineke Dijkstra, Vondelpark, Amsterdam, June 19, 2005, 2005 © Rineke Dijkstra

Rineke Dijkstra (Sittart 1959) became internationally known with her "Beach Portraits" during the 1990s. With this moving series of photographs, she established her reputation as a maker of portraits that express the identity, vulnerability and dignity of the subjects. Last year she was granted the Hasselblad Award, a prestigious photography prize.

Dijkstra prefers to work in series, which allow the differences and similarities among the portrait subjects and their cultural backgrounds to emerge in a subtle manner. The time-consuming process of working with a technical camera determines her approach. She creates the conditions and plays with the light, which appears to be natural and yet has a slightly different appearance. She chooses her figures carefully, but chance plays a significant role as well. The sharply focused photographs give the viewer a sense of being face to face with the portrait subjects. At the same time, the serial character of the work also makes the subjects lose a certain degree of individuality. As a viewer, one mainly identifies with the universal human feelings (e.g. shyness, a lack of ease) displayed by them.
The theme of transformation keeps on surfacing in various series, such as the one in which a friendly-looking French boy evolves, in just a few years, into a stalwart soldier. But is this real, or is he playing a role?

Such questions interest Dijkstra. Despite the faithfully rendered appearance of the photograph, the portrait subject ultimately remains unfathomable and elusive. Who is hiding behind a mask, and who is showing his or her true face? This dilemma is subtly conveyed in the video of Marianna, a ten-year-old Russian ballerina who practices her dance steps in a pink studio. The cloyingly sweet surroundings and the spirited music stand in stark contrast to the stern voice of a teacher who is giving instructions off screen. With each new attempt to execute the steps perfectly, Marianna smiles as she has been conditioned to do, but gradually a certain fatigue and defiance nonetheless begin to emerge.

De Pont Museum, Tilburg


Ai Weiwei

Zum Anbeißen: Früchte in der Kunst - Aus der Sammlung Rainer Wild (group show)
Museum der Brotkultur, Ulm
8 February - 20 May 2018


Rineke Dijkstra

The Beauty of Lines. Masterpieces from the Sondra Gilman and Celso Gonzalez-Falla collection (group show)
Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne
31 January - 6 May 2018

The exhibition presents a selection of masterpieces from the history of photography, part of the collection of Sondra Gilman and Celso Gonzalez-Falla. Based in New York, it includes over 1500 original prints by some of the greatest photographers of the 20th and 21st centuries. Through visual confrontations, the visitor is invited to experience the power of the photographic line through these sublime works. The photographs by Bérénice Abbott, Eugène Atget, Robert Adams, Walker Evans, Vik Muniz, Man Ray and Lee Friedlander, among others, thus resonate, beyond their historical temporality and geographic considerations, by their formal correspondences.

Throughout history, photographers have always oscillated between two extremes: the mimetic illusion of reality and the enhancement of the esthetic qualities of the image. Whether it be “instantaneous lines”, according to the expression of Henri Cartier-Bresson, rational lines inspired from New Topographics, or the diversity of the curved lines of the human body, the line structures and sometimes reinvents the real – to the point of abstraction.

In the case of photography, spectators, even the most discriminating, often first observe the world that they are presented with. They scrutinize the face or the landscape, they marvel at the details, the fashionable clothes, the expressions on the children’s faces. In other words, they can forget that they are actually looking at a piece of paper, as flat as a page in a book or a drawing. Fascinated by the mimetic illusion, they might not even see the lines – straight, curved, oblique – that actually form the basis of the photographic composition.

Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne



Ai Weiwei

Why are you creative? (group show)
Museum für Kommunikation, Berlin
2 February – 8 April 2018


Ai Weiwei

The New York Times - Art Leaders Network (conference)
ewerk, Berlin
25 - 26 April 2018

A Summit for Innovators and Experts

This April 25-26 in Berlin, The New York Times brings together a select group of the world’s most distinguished art experts and influencers - from dealers and gallery owners to museum directors and curators to auction executives and collectors.

The economics and dynamics of the art market are changing faster than ever before; driven by new buying habits, an increasingly global clientele, and ever-higher pricing led by shifts in supply and demand. Devised specifically with art and cultural leaders at its core, the Art Leaders Network program will define and assess the most pressing challenges and opportunities in the industry today.

Through provocative interviews and riveting discussions, senior New York Times journalists will explore myriad topics, from the impact of economic events on the arts to the outlook for galleries in the age of the mega dealer, as well as the future of museums to the undiminished fascination with contemporary art.

This invitation-only gathering will take place in Berlin, a city whose story of renaissance and reinvention mirrors the essence of this groundbreaking event.

The New York Times - Art Leaders Network


Ai Weiwei

Dangerous Art (group show)
Haifa Museum of Art, Haifa
11 November 2017 - 27 May 2018

Political changes in the Western world drove many democratic countries to a constant "state of emergency", which lead to an erosion of citizens' and institutions' rights. The new cluster of exhibitions revolves around artists' response to limitations placed on civil freedom, in Israel and worldwide. The various exhibitions relate to social issues such as the right of protest, women rights, rights of the LGBTQIA community, and the rights of refugees. Many artist use artistic activism as a strategy, and raise the question whether contemporary art has the power to function as an arena of political protest. This in contrast to the common view, according to which the revolutionary spirit is over and every form of criticism domed to undergo castrating censorship.

Today's art world, in Israel and worldwide, evinces an increased interest in the intersection of art and social activism. Known as artivism, this new form of expression aspires to blend art and activism in equal degree. Contemporary art criticism emphasizes the power of art to function as an arena for political protest. Artistic activism, a new phenomenon that has become a staple of our time, is different from the type of critical art that dominated modernist discourse in the 20th century.

Since the beginning of Modernism, artists have endeavored to tackle taboos in radical and groundbreaking ways. Avant-garde art set its sights on "the system": the form of government, the social structure, the distribution of capital, and issues of policing and control. High hopes were hung on the movement's potential to instigate revolution. The current cluster of exhibitions aspires to illustrate subversive artistic practices in a post-revolutionary time, devoid of any possibility for artistic-political protest. In our days, when every form of criticism is immediately negated and appropriated by capitalism, has art lost its power to critique? Or does art, more than ever, find itself in a position to challenge and threaten the political order?

Mostly, the works displayed in this cluster of exhibitions were meant not only to represent the struggle of the oppressed, but also to create a space for activist intervention. The works relate to social spaces in which neoliberalism takes great pride in extending the rights granted to various communities, such as women's rights, LGBTQIA rights, refugee rights, or the rights to protest and self-defense. However, the tolerance attributed to the spirit of liberalism is often of a cynical nature, used as a fig leaf to cover up the exacerbation of social inequality and denial of human rights. The artists featured in this cluster of exhibitions seek to liberate themselves of the ideological stronghold of the political hegemony and expose the unjust antagonism and violence it propagates. In this way, contemporary artists are able to take an active part in redefining the contemporary political discourse.

Haifa Museum of Art, Haifa


Rineke Dijkstra

"I am a native foreigner" (group show)
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
22 September 2017 - 2 June 2018

The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam is mounting a series of exhibitions in 2017 and 2018 that explore different aspects of the theme migration. “I Am a Native Foreigner” examines migration by focusing on the museum’s collection: what are artists' views on migration, and how do they visualise it in their work? This collection presentation considers the effects of migration on artists both past and present, and reveals how they dealt with, and depicted, the impact of displacement. The title “I Am a Native Foreigner” is taken from a statement made by the Mexican artist Ulises Carrión (1941-1989), who settled in Amsterdam in the 1970s.

The work in “I Am a Native Foreigner” ranges from photographs of Dutch immigrants disembarking at New York’s Ellis Island around 1900, and Surinamese-born Dutch who made their home in the Bijlmer in Amsterdam southeast in the late ‘70s, to more recent images of refugees off the coast of southern Spain.

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam


Thomas Struth

Image Building: How Photography Transforms Architecture (group show)
Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill
18 March - 17 June 2018

Image Building: How Photography Transforms Architecture is a comprehensive survey that explores the dynamic relationship between architecture, photography, and the viewer. Seen through the lens of historical and architectural photographers from the 1930s to the present, Image Building offers a nuanced perspective on how photographs affect our understanding of the built environment and our social and personal identities. The exhibition features 57 images that explore the social, psychological, and conceptual implications of architecture through the subjective interpretation of those who captured it.

Organized by guest curator Therese Lichtenstein, Ph. D, Image Building brings together works by 19 renowned, under-recognized, and emerging artists ranging from early modern to contemporary architectural photographers. In addition to photographs, Image Building includes ephemera such as magazines and books that illustrate how the meaning of photography shifts when presented in the context of high art or mass culture. 

Organized thematically into Cityscapes, Domestic Spaces, and Public Places, the exhibition examines the relationship between contemporary and historical approaches to photographing buildings in urban, suburban, and rural environments, looking at influences, similarities and differences. By juxtaposing these photographs, Image Building creates a dialogue between the past and present, revealing the ways photography shapes and frames the perception of architecture, and how that perception is transformed over time.

Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill


Thomas Struth

Thomas Struth (solo show)
Aspen Art Museum, Aspen
19 January – 10 June 2018

Thomas Struth, Front Yard, Tel Aviv 2014, 2014 © Thomas Struth
Thomas Struth, Front Yard, Tel Aviv 2014, 2014 © Thomas Struth

Acclaimed German artist Thomas Struth’s pivotal series on the Middle East is on view in Gallery 1 in its entirety for the first time. The series of eighteen monumental photographs of Israel and Palestine taken between 2009 and 2014 depicts places and people throughout the region, encompassing street views, sites of technological research, and family portraits. Photographing within the political climates of East Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, the Golan Heights, Ramallah, Al-Khalil/Hebron, Nazareth, and Negev, Struth conveys vivid and emotional narratives of place.

Aspen Art Museum, Aspen


Rineke Dijkstra

Figures: SPECTRUM International Prize for Photography 2018 (solo show)
Sprengel Museum, Hanover
27 January - 6 May 2018

Rineke Dijkstra, Amy, Liverpool, England, December 23, 2008, 2008 © Rineke Dijkstra
Rineke Dijkstra, Amy, Liverpool, England, December 23, 2008, 2008 © Rineke Dijkstra

With Rineke Dijkstra (born 1959 in Sittard, The Netherlands, lives in Amsterdam), the Foundation of Lower Saxony honours one of today’s outstanding photographers. In its compelling formal as well as contentual logic, in the profundity of the photographic occupation with the classic portrait, Dijkstra’s work assumes a solitary position in the recent history of photography. The artist received the prestigious Hasselblad Award in October 2017 and her œuvre is on view in conjunction with a retrospective organised by the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk (DK). Dijkstra has been the subject of numerous international exhibitions, for example at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, and Tate Liverpool.

For her exhibition at the Sprengel Museum Hannover, the artist has developed a format based on a dialogue between a selection of her works with art from the museum’s own collection. The confrontation of photographs from the early 1990s (for example the ‘Beach Portraits’) and recent pieces with paintings by Max Beckmann and Alexej von Jawlensky in addition to a number of modern sculptures reveal an innovative view of the Dutch artist’s specific visual language. The portraits chosen by Dijkstra for her presentation at the Sprengel Museum Hannover clearly show the extent to which her sitters are conscious of the act of being photographed. It is the tension between the ideal of relaxed self-presentation and the tense pose in the photographs, the exhibitionism and the objectification of an attitude made conscious through the optics of the camera that becomes the complex image of an individual.

Rineke Dijkstra views photography as a possibility of dealing with fundamental questions of human existence. In the process, photography represents a means of observation and cognition. Her meticulous outlook with an interest in details that can be relived in her images created with large-format or video camera reveals the constant variability of human existence.

The awarding of the »SPECTRUM« International Prize for Photography of the Foundation of Lower Saxony pays tribute to the style-forming power of her oeuvre and the artistic consequence with which Rineke Dijkstra continues the occupation with the photographic portrait in her filmic works.

Sprengel Museum, Hanover


Ai Weiwei

Age of Terror: Art Since 9/11 (group show)
Imperial War Museum, London
26 October 2017 - 28 May 2018

Ai Weiwei, Surveillance Camera with Marble Stand, 2015. Courtesy the artist and Imperial War Museum, London
Ai Weiwei, Surveillance Camera with Marble Stand, 2015. Courtesy the artist and Imperial War Museum, London

See the UK’s first major exhibition of artists’ responses to war and conflict since the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001. Age of Terror: Art Since 9/11 will feature more than 40 British and international artists, including Ai Weiwei, Grayson Perry, Gerhard Richter, Jenny Holzer, Mona Hatoum, Alfredo Jaar, Coco Fusco and Jake & Dinos Chapman.

The complex issues surrounding the global response to 9/11, the nature of modern warfare and the continuing state of emergency in which we find ourselves have become compelling subject matter for contemporary artists.

Artists’ unique ways of communicating through their art provide different levels of understanding. The stories they tell, whether first or second-hand, come from alternative viewpoints not always reflected in the mainstream media, often challenge our perceptions.

Through 50 works of art including film, sculpture, painting, installations, photography and prints, many of which will be exhibited publicly in the UK for the first time, this exhibition highlights the crucial role of artists in representing contemporary conflict.

The exhibition will be presented through four key themes: artists’ direct or immediate responses to the events of 9/11; issues of state surveillance and security; our complex relationship with firearms, bombs and drones and the destruction caused by conflict on landscape, architecture and people.

Imperial War Museum, London


Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei (solo show)
Various locations, The Contemporary Austin, Austin
3 June 2017 - ongoing

Ai Weiwei, installation view, 2017. Courtesy the artist and the Contemporary Austin.
Ai Weiwei, installation view, 2017. Courtesy the artist and the Contemporary Austin.

The Contemporary Austin and Waller Creek Conservancy announce an upcoming two-part outdoor exhibition of large-scale installations by Chinese artist and political activist Ai Weiwei, to go on view to the public beginning June 3, 2017, as part of The Contemporary Austin’s partnership with Waller Creek Conservancy and its Museum Without Walls program. The project is made possible by the Edward and Betty Marcus Foundation and represents the second collaboration between The Contemporary Austin and Waller Creek Conservancy.

The works include the striking installation Forever Bicycles, 2014, installed by The Contemporary Austin at the Waller Delta (74 Trinity Street, Austin, Texas), and Iron Tree Trunk, 2015, on view at The Contemporary Austin’s Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria (3809 West 35th Street, Austin, Texas). The public opening for both works by Ai Weiwei will be celebrated with free family-friendly art activities and refreshments on Saturday, June 3 from 10 a.m. to noon at the sculpture Forever Bicycles at the Waller Delta. Both works will remain on view as long-term loans.

The Contemporary Austin, Austin


Ai Weiwei

21st Biennale of Sydney: SUPERPOSITION: Equilibrium and Engagement (group show)
Various locations, Sydney
16 March - 11 June 2018

Ai Weiwei, installation view, Law of the Journey, National Gallery, Prague, 2017 Photo: Ai Weiwei Studio
Ai Weiwei, installation view, Law of the Journey, National Gallery, Prague, 2017 Photo: Ai Weiwei Studio

Curatorial Statement: Mami Kataoka, Artistic Director

"The 21st Biennale of Sydney title borrows the quantum mechanical term "superposition" to link the notions of equilibrium and engagement. In quantum theory, "superposition" refers to the ability of electrons to occupy multiple states at once, to simultaneously take opposing paths and end up in different places. It is only with the application of measurement that matter is reduced to a single definition.

SUPERPOSITION: Equilibrium and Engagement will examine the state of "superposition" by examining how it might operate in the world today. We are surrounded by conflicting ideas across all levels of humanity: different cultures; readings of nature and the universe; political ideologies and systems of government; interpretations of human history, the history of art and definitions of contemporary art.

Correspondingly, according to the theory of "Wu Xing" in ancient Chinese natural philosophy, everything in this world is comprised of five main elements: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Each element gives rise to the next – either through a process of symbiosis, where one element encourages the formation of the others in a circulatory system, or a situation of mutual conflict and antagonism, in which each element resists and suppresses the others. In reality, diverse elements come together in a state of repeated collision, collapse and rebirth."

The participating artists in the 21st Biennale of Sydney have been chosen to offers a panoramic view of how opposing understandings and interpretations can come together in a state of "equilibrium." My hope is that their artworks will serve as a catalyst for thinking about these principles and concerns, taking one’s own position in society as a starting point.

21st Biennale of Sydney


Ai Weiwei

Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads (solo show)
Bayfront Gardens, The Ringling, Sarasota, FL
9 June 2017 - 1 June 2018

Ai Weiwei, Zodiac Heads, Installation view in New York, 2011
Ai Weiwei, Zodiac Heads, Installation view in New York, 2011

The Ringling is pleased to announce the presentation of the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s 12 monumental bronze sculptures, Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads.  A sculptor, photographer, installation artist, architect, and social activist, Ai is one of the most renowned artists working today.

Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads was inspired by the fabled fountain-clock of the Yuanming Yuan, an 18th-century imperial retreat just outside Beijing. Designed in the 18th century by two European Jesuits at the behest of the Manchu Emperor Qianlong, the fountain-clock featured the animals of the Chinese zodiac, each spouting water at two hour intervals. In 1860, the Yuanming Yuan was ransacked by French and British troops, and the heads were pillaged.

Seven out of the 12 animal heads in Ai’s piece are based on the original fountain works that have been discovered—rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, horse, monkey, and boar. The remaining five are the artist’s reimagining of the currently missing artifacts—dragon, snake, goat, rooster, and dog. The dual title of the work addresses the artist’s desire that the piece be relatable on many different levels and to people who may not know the original sculpture’s history.

In re-interpreting these objects on an oversized scale, Ai Weiwei focuses attention on questions of looting and repatriation, while extending his ongoing exploration of the 'fake' and the copy in relation to the original. He states that each piece is “a copy of an original, but not an exact copy—something that has its own sensitive layer of languages, which are different, and that bears the mark of our time.”

The 12 bronze Zodiac Heads stand on bronze columns. Each animal head measures approximately 4 feet high and 3 feet wide. The animal heads on their columns reach between 9.8 and 12 feet high, with each one weighing approximately 800 lbs. This group of works, (including a smaller copy in gold) has been exhibited worldwide since the official launch of the Zodiac Heads in 2011, making it one of the most viewed sculpture projects in the history of contemporary art.

The Ringling, Sarasota


Rineke Dijkstra

Collection Centre Pompidou (group show)
Centre Pompidou, Malaga, from 28 March 2015 - ongoing

Rineke Dijkstra, I See a Woman Crying ( Weeping Woman ), 2009
Rineke Dijkstra, I See a Woman Crying ( Weeping Woman ), 2009

The world famous gallery Centre Pompidou is coming to Malaga. Without doubt the Pompidou art center in Paris is one of the greatest homes of twentieth century art. In line with the arresting appearance of the Pompidou in Paris the Malaga collection will be housed in the large glass cube, built with a cultural purpose in mind and which is situated at the corner which joins Muelle Uno and Muelle Dos of Malaga’s newly renovated port. The new Malaga Pop-Up museum will house a fine selection of its French mother. The museum that is at time of writing under full construction is expected to open on March 28th, just before the touristic season takes off.


Centre Pompidou, Malaga