Ai Weiwei: Exaggeration, 13 May 2016 — 21 Aug 2016

Ai Weiwei: Exaggeration

Galerie Forsblom, Lönnrotinkatu 5

Ai Weiwei’s (b. 1957) first gallery exhibition in Finland fills Galerie Forsblom’s space for the entire summer. Chinese Ai Weiwei is widely regarded as one of the most renowned contemporary artists alive today. The exhibition presents a selection of the artist’s varied works from different stages of his career, including his latest massive kites fashioned out of silk paper and bamboo.

The kite works are reinterpretations of Shang Hai Jing, or the Classic of Mountains and Seas, a 2,000 year-old book of fables about mythological creatures and monsters, which were said to inhabit the earth’s uncharted realms. Etymologically, ‘monster’ once referred to imaginary animals composed of parts of different creatures: the familiar is thus merged with the abnormal in an unsettling union. But Ai Weiwei’s monsters are humorous and endearing: they are based on childhood memories of storybook illustrations, their luminous whiteness inspired by the purity of flax and snow.

The exhibition also features a selection of works from his Colored Vases series, in which he has defaced precious Neolithic Han Dynasty urns with industrial paint. Some urns even bear multinational brand logos. The gesture of defacing precious antiquities symbolizes the rejection – or iconoclastic annihilation – of traditional values. According to superstition, funeral urns are believed to bring bad luck, yet by painting them, Ai Weiwei transforms them into objects of value. Ai Weiwei combines historical allusion with Pop references in voicing a humanitarian critique of world politics. Memory occupies a significant role in his oeuvre: the cultural heritage that is the foundation of our society reflects not only our past, but also our present.

He uses a variety of mediums and materials in his conceptual, readymade-inspired art. Known for his social commentary, he has recently expanded his practice into the domains of documentary film and architecture. His work is represented in many of the world’s most famous museums, including the Tate Modern and the MoMA Museum of Modern Art.

Contacts & Details
T: +358 9 680 3700

Galerie Forsblom, Lönnrotinkatu 5
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