This exhibition is comprised of twelve animal heads, each depicting a segment of the ancient Chinese zodiac.
The works by artist and activist Ai Weiwei are an European version of the Chinese zodiac designed by Italian Jesuit Giuseppe Castiglione. The original sculptures, with their international connections, were built for an elaborate water-clock fountain at the imperial summer home of Emperor Qianlong, just outside of Beijing. In 1860 during the Second Opium War, the imperial gardens were ransacked, displacing the twelve zodiac heads. To this date only seven have been recovered.
Continuing his work of re-interpreting cultural objects from his own fantasy and historical knowledge, Ai Weiwei revisions all twelve zodiac heads. His work comments on the tension between what is “fake,” what is a “copy,” and what may constitute the better of the two.
- Courtesy of Lourdina Jean Rabieh