Posts Tagged ‘artist’

Ai Weiwei – Evidence

I was fortunate enough to have some free time earlier today evening, and headed over to the Martin-Gropius-Bau to catch the Ai Weiwei (@aiww)exhibition titled Evidence. This is the first time I’ve seen Ai Weiwei’s work as I missed it at the Tate Modern in London a while back.

He is a modern artists. Playing around with a lot of different materials to come up with his artwork. And he makes use of the Web. I guess his claim to fame is that he’s all for freedom of speech & expression (something that’s hard to do in China – a dissident he is, if you must), and the fact that he’s a documenter of modern happenings (everyone is interested at the amazing pace of growth in China – he shows that by video recordings of highways, or driving around and recording his journey as an example).

For me, I was really moved by Zodiac Heads (Circle of Animals). I would so grab the rat, tiger and dog as examples! 

China in ten years (I first went to Beijing in 2004 – it has changed a lot in a decade) has become a lot more materialistic. The car of choice used to be the Audi; it still is, but you find a lot of other luxury vehicles on the roads nowadays in Beijing. So the Han Dynasty vases painted with metallic paint from BMW & Mercedes was great for cultural insight. Culturally, the want of antiques is also high and the Table & Chest with stripped chairs was also interesting – remove 1mm sheen from Ming Dynasty furniture and they look like new. What is the purpose of antiques again?

I enjoyed his Study of Perspectives (a selection at moma) as well. He goes to famous landmarks and takes a photo with his left middle finger.

He portrays the disputed islands (between China & Japan). I loved the stools because they each tell a story (6,000 of them). I enjoyed his re-enactment of how he was held captive by the Chinese authorities for some time. It’s shocking to see how you would sleep with a light on, always be watched by security guards and have everything covered up – where you have to do your own laundry and the only thing you get are 6 hangers. Its sad to see that his studio in Shanghai was demolished at a moment’s notice – but he made artwork out of it. He showed the evidence that was confiscated (lots of laptops/video recorders/PCs).

A protest pre-demolition involved river crabs (he xie). Guess that’s the beauty of the Chinese language :)

If you get the chance to check Ai Weiwei’s work out, its well worth it and will take you a good 2 hours (read a review in The Economist). You can’t take photos inside, but you will leave with a lot of memories. If you can’t see this one in Berlin, check out a video: Ai Weiwei – Dumbass. At five minutes long, it makes my video of the week.

An encounter with Thierry Noir

Artist Thierry Noir with his first exhibition after a 30-year careerWhile looking for a coffee, at about 7.50pm, we popped into the Howard Griffin Gallery in Shoreditch. Looked at a lot of amazing work from Thierry Noir. Headed downstairs and saw some more interesting work, and then an unassuming man asked me if I liked the work. I said I did. He said thank you. I then asked him if he was the artist itself — he said yes! 

Here I was talking to Thierry Noir! I had seen his work years ago when I visited Berlin with my family (his paintings are still on the Berlin Wall, at the East Side Gallery). We chatted, he was very down to earth, and we talked about his favourite works. This is his first solo exhibition in this thirty year career! I picked up a book, he graciously autographed it in a way only he can.

He lives in Berlin normally, and funnily enough my next stop was to be Berlin :) Many useful resources are listed below, but if you happen to be in London, check out the Howard Griffin Gallery, 04 April – 5 May 2014.

Gallery closes at 8pm, we left shortly thereafter. Still amazed how chance sometimes just works out.

In other news, Richard Howard-Griffin, director of the gallery, is immensely young, probably discovered street artist John Dolan (wiki), had an exhibition earlier for George the dog John the artist (John is always seen with his dog George; now has a book deal, life’s changed tremendously for him), and now hooks up artists to do collaborations (John Dolan x Thierry Noir coming up soon). Wish I picked up some of Dolan’s works and it is amazing what Howard-Griffin has achieved.


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