I must apologise for the delay in the writing up of this post, Christmas kind of got in the way. I managed to get to see this on the last day of the exhibition and it completely blew me away. The energy in his work combined with his political stance and sense of powerful emotion was clear for all to see. Sadly it was a very quick visit, I would gladly have gone back to see it again and absorb the finer details of his work.
This first piece is in memory of 5000 children that lost their lives in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, mainly due to shoddy workmanship and cost cutting from the construction of the school houses. The Chinese government refused to investigate so Ai Weiwei launched a citizen’s investigation to create a list of the victims, which he did, the Chinese government promptly put him in jail for 81 days. Next Ai gathered together 150 tons of steel rebar from the sites of the collapsed schools in Sichuan and straightened them to make an installation which along with the names, ages, dates of birth and address of the children that died make a very powerful image.
Ai Weiwei’s trees are simply beautiful and created a tangible presence in the courtyard of the RA.
These are the pieces that I most wanted to take home – but you knew that!