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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


Additional:

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


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


Ai Weiwei

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


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, 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


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


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