AI WEIWEI: LIFE CYCLE
September 28, 2018 – March 3, 2019
This solo exhibition will take place in the Theater Gallery by the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. This is his first major institutional exhibition in Los Angeles and it will feature the new and unseen work Life Cycle (2018) – a sculptural response to the global refugee crisis. The exhibition will also present iconic installations Sunflower Seeds (2010) and Spouts (2015) within the Foundation’s Theater Gallery.
Life Cycle (2018) references the artist’s 2017 monumental sculpture Law of the Journey. Ai’s response to the global refugee crisis, which used inflatable, black PVC rubber to describe the improvised boats used to reach Europe. In this new iteration, Life Cycle describes an inflatable boat through the technique used in traditional Chinese kite-making, using bamboo instead of the PVC rubber. Hanging around the boat installation are figures made out of bamboo and silk.
Windows (2015), which hangs along the perimeter of the Black Box, draws from Chinese mythology, the tales and illustrations of the Shanhaijing, the history of 20th-century art, and the life and works of the artist. The various scenes include the mythological creatures of the Shanhaijing alongside bamboo versions of Ai’s earlier works, such as Template and Bang, and homages to Marcel Duchamp and Jasper Johns
This multifaceted installation is a continuation of Ai’s ongoing engagement with politics and social justice. It continues with the release of his documentary, Human Flow (2017), which describes the refugee crisis on film.
In the Theater Gallery, Sunflower Seeds (2010), is composed of 49 tons of individual porcelain sunflower seeds made by 1600 artisans from an ancient porcelain production center in Jingdezhen, in China’s Jiangxi province. This installation further develops reoccurring topics, such as authenticity, the individual’s role in society, geopolitics of cultural and economic exchange.
Spouts (2015) piles together thousands of antique teapot spouts dating as far back to the Song dynasty (960–1279). Spouts can be seen as a metaphor for a mass of mouths, and a broad longing for freedom of speech despite its continuing restriction throughout many