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Beijing Makes Wei for Ai

July 06, 2015
Ai Weiwei

China’s most internationally famous (or infamous, depending on your standpoint) contemporary artist, Ai Weiwei has shown everywhere from the Tate Modern and Venice Biennale to Brooklyn and even Alcatraz. But never before has the boundary-pushing installation artist had a solo showcase in his home country. 

So it was no small surprise when Galleria Continua and Tang Contemporary Art Center, located in Beijing’s too-cool 798 Art District, announced that they would be displaying a series of his works in an eponymously entitled premiere exhibition.

Perhaps making up for lost time by going big (hence the necessity of two gallery spaces), Ai has opted for scale and subtly above overt political critique in this new installation, which is dominated by a colossal Ming-era ancestral home, painstakingly disassembled and rebuilt by the artist and his team in two separate parts. 

Set around and within the vase hall segments are various evocative objects – traditional lanterns, broken teapot spouts scattered across the floor, a tree-like copper and crystal chandelier – each strategically placed to entice viewers to engage with the items and surrounding environment. 

The interactions of participants are, in turn, captured and broadcast live on screens mounted in both galleries, imbuing the entire exhibition with the requisite element of social construction and awareness that defines so many of Ai’s masterpieces. This is the artist at perhaps his most abstract yet adroit. Make Wei, Beijing!

Until 6 Sep, 2015.

Galleria Continua & Tang Contemporary Art Center / 8503/2 Jiuxianqiao Lu / 798 Art District / Chaoyang / +86 10 5978 9505 / 11am-6pm Tue-Sun / galleriacontinua.com

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