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“Everything is Art. Everything is Politics” – Ai WeiWei

April 12, 2021 @ 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

“Everything is Art. Everything is Politics” – Ai WeiWei – a lecture by Frank Woodga

This lecture will examine the provocative and often beautiful work of the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in the context of dissident art in China, Europe and South America, and examine some of his sources of inspiration, including the Russian Constructivist, Vladimir Tatlin, and the leading Dada artist, Marcel Duchamp.

Ai Weiwei collaborated with Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron in designing the Beijing National Stadium (the Bird’s Nest – above left) for the 2008 Olympics, but the following year was arrested and beaten by police, necessitating emergency brain surgery.

While his Sunflower Seeds installation was still on display in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in 2011, he was arrested again and detained in prison for 81 days, during which he was subjected to mental torture. Part of the problem of course was the provocative nature of his work. While producing beautiful objects such as Descending Light (2007 – above right), he was also involved in performances, often photographed, which criticised various elements of the Chinese state.

Between 1995 and 2003, he produced an extensive series of photographs, each of which was called Study in Perspective, in which he made an offensive gesture in front of famous locations. Those relating to the White House and the Eiffel Tower caused no problem in China of course, but that in Tiananmen Square (on the fifth anniversary of the notorious demonstration, when hundreds of people were killed) was clearly highly contentious.

In 2013, Howard Brenton’s play, The Arrest of Ai Weiwei, based on Barnaby Martin’s book, Hanging Man, had a highly successful run at Hampstead Theatre. The book was based on interviews with Ai, who was then living in China and continued to be a thorn in the side of the political establishment.

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This lecture will examine the provocative and often beautiful work of the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in the context of dissident art in China, Europe and South America, and examine some of his sources of inspiration, including the Russian Constructivist, Vladimir Tatlin, and the leading Dada artist, Marcel Duchamp.

Ai Weiwei collaborated with Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron in designing the Beijing National Stadium (the Bird’s Nest – above left) for the 2008 Olympics, but the following year was arrested and beaten by police, necessitating emergency brain surgery.

While his Sunflower Seeds installation was still on display in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in 2011, he was arrested again and detained in prison for 81 days, during which he was subjected to mental torture. Part of the problem of course was the provocative nature of his work. While producing beautiful objects such as Descending Light (2007 – above right), he was also involved in performances, often photographed, which criticised various elements of the Chinese state.

Between 1995 and 2003, he produced an extensive series of photographs, each of which was called Study in Perspective, in which he made an offensive gesture in front of famous locations. Those relating to the White House and the Eiffel Tower caused no problem in China of course, but that in Tiananmen Square (on the fifth anniversary of the notorious demonstration, when hundreds of people were killed) was clearly highly contentious.

In 2013, Howard Brenton’s play, The Arrest of Ai Weiwei, based on Barnaby Martin’s book, Hanging Man, had a highly successful run at Hampstead Theatre. The book was based on interviews with Ai, who was then living in China and continued to be a thorn in the side of the political establishment.

 

 

Details

Date:
April 12, 2021
Time:
10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Organiser

The Arts Society New Forest

Venue

Brockenhurst Village Hall
Highwood Road
Brockenhurst, Hampshire SO42 7RY United Kingdom
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Phone:
01590 622580