Ai Weiwei gifts politically charged “Letgo Room” LEGO installation to the National Gallery in Melbourne

Ai Weiwei Gifts Politically Charged “Letgo Room” to the NGV Melbourne
Ai Weiwei at National Gallery of Victoria exhibition Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei has gifted his major new installation “Letgo Room” 2015 to the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). The NGV commissioned the work for its Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei exhibition which opened on December 11 and continues until April 24, 2016.

BlouinArtinfo:

Created using more than two million plastic Lego bricks, the installation comprises twenty portraits Australian activists, advocates and champions of human rights, freedom of speech, freedom of information and freedom of the internet.

Ai established collection points for the Lego bricks around the world earlier in the year, including one at the NGV, after Lego refused to supply him with bricks because the company “cannot approve the use of Legos for political works.”

Portrait subjects include Julian Assange, Geoffrey Robertson QC, Peter Greste, Professor Gillian Triggs, Rosie Batty, The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG, Archie Roach, Julian Burnside AO QC and Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, among others from a wide range of different fields.

Constructed on the artist’s behalf by a team of almost 100 local volunteers and arts students, the work “attests to Ai’s long-standing commitment to freedom of expression and human rights,” according to the NGV.

Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei includes more 120 than works by Ai Weiwei and over 200 works by Andy Warhol, exploring the full scope of both artists’ practice. The exhibition is presented in association with The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, with the participation of Ai Weiwei Studio.

Ai Weiwei gets his passport back after four years

I have no idea why. This is not something I can say… I feel pleased. This was something that needed to be done… I think they should have given it back some time ago and maybe after so many years they understand me better.

Ai Weiwei unveils “Golden Age” designer wallpaper at Serpentine Galleries in London

London’s Serpentine Galleries unveils “Golden Age,” a designer wallpaper by contemporary artist Ai Weiwei. The piece is a social commentary of sorts by the artist and features interlocking gold chains reminiscent of luxurious silk scarves, as well as surveillance cameras surrounding Twitter’s Larry Bird logo. This is possibly an allusion to the ongoing discussion of privacy topics like social media rights and government surveillance issues, as Ai Weiwei is reputed for his critiques on the Chinese government and his longstanding dissidence of the state’s policies.

“Golden Age” and the preview video above will debut ahead of the gallery’s upcoming wallpaper exhibition by artists, designers, architects and the like. The wallpaper collection will be available for purchase this May.

Serpentine Galleries
Kensington Gardens,
London W2 3XA, United Kingdom

Ai Weiwei’s “F Grass” installation for the Vancouver Biennale

China bans puns in media and ads

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Beyond Chinatown:

 

Last week, China’s State Administration for Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (国家广播电影电视总局 / 國家廣播電影電視總局) announced a policy that bans the use of wordplay in media and ads ostensibly to “popularize and standardize the use of the national common language, a heritage of Chinese traditional culture”.  Since Chinese languages, like Mandarin, have a rich linguistic tradition of wordplay based on homophonic puns that, unlike puns in English, are much more ubiquitous and always seem clever and never groan or eye-roll inducing, the edict at first glance seems to be more ridiculous than SAPPRFT’s ban on time travel in TV shows and movies.   It might not be entirely ill-conceived.

The Wall Street Journal’s China Real Time explains one example specifically cited by the Chinese version of the FCC as an “indiscriminate use” of language:

[T]he phrase “晋善晋美” was used in ads promoting tourism to Shanxi province, widely seen as the cradle of Chinese culture. The slogan — translated as “Shanxi, a land of splendors”–  was a pun on the Chinese saying, “尽善尽美,” which means perfection. The ads swapped out the character “尽” for a homonym, “晋,” a character often used to represent Shanxi.”

 

Shanxi Promotional Video:

 

The slogan was selected in December 2012 by the Shanxi Tourism Bureau after four months of competition and was heavily promoted on CCTV and other media outlets.  In July 2013, it was reported a fourth grade student mistook the tourism slogan for the idiom meaning “perfection”.

The clever phrase was deemed to “rape” the idiom and sullied Chinese culture.   This pun control can be seen as part of the Central Government’s efforts to promote standard Mandarin.

Many are sympathetic to the government’s concern about the irregular and inaccurate use of characters, especially among children, but find it at odds with linguistic appreciation and development.  Yi Ming (亦鸣 / 亦鳴), a contributor to China Art Newspaper (中国艺术报 / 中國藝術報), praises the slogan as a clever use of traditional culture for a commercial purpose and highlights the charm of Chinese characters.

Li Zhiqi (李志起) chairman of marketing group CBCT, linguistic innovation should be encouraged and new idioms created.  An editorial in Xinhua does not believe in a “one size fits all” prohibition.  The author calls for the SAPPRFT to “seriously listen to the reasonable opinions of language scholars and the public” and believes that people need to keep an open mind about language so that it can develop.

The rule naturally echoes efforts by the government to censor online taboo topics, names, and words which Chinese netizens often circumvent by slyly hiding behind puns.  For example, when the government censored the word “harmonious” (和谐 / 和諧, pronounced héxié) online because netizens began using it as a euphemism for censorship (which the government justifies in order to promote a “Socialist Harmonious Society“), “river crab” (河蟹 / 河蟹, pronounced héxiè) was used as a substitute.

Dissident artist Ai Weiwei later visualized the phrase in an installation and invited supporters to feast on river crabs to protest the government’s demolition of his Shanghai studio.

 

 

David Moser, academic director for CET Chinese studies at Beijing Capital Normal University, tells The Guardian, “It could just be a small group of people, or even one person, who are conservative, humorless, priggish and arbitrarily purist, so that everyone has to fall in line…But I wonder if this is not a preemptive move, an excuse to crack down for supposed ‘linguistic purity reasons’ on the cute language people use to crack jokes about the leadership or policies. It sounds too convenient.”

Art News: Ai Weiwei adds Porcelain “Blossom” installation to “@Large” exhibition on Alcatraz Island

Ai WeiWei x Dover Street Market x V MAGAZINE “Children of the Comme”

Image of Ai WeiWei x Dover Street Market x V MAGAZINE "Children of the Comme"

 

The latest project from Chinese artist Ai Weiwei comes courtesy of a box of designer pieces from emerging brands stocked at Dover Street Market to photograph for V Magazine. Given free reign to shoot “in whatever manner he chose,” the thought- provoking artist chose to stand the models on pedestals while wearing items from the likes of Hood By Air, Gosha Rubchinskiy and more, as buckets of paint were then poured onto their heads. These images were taken mid-pour and thus the chaotic yet beautiful nature of the splashes were frozen in time to create a compelling fashion editorial for the publication’s latest issue.

Enjoy the images and keep an eye out for the print to hit stockists on November 13.

 

Image of Ai WeiWei x Dover Street Market x V MAGAZINE "Children of the Comme"

Image of Ai WeiWei x Dover Street Market x V MAGAZINE "Children of the Comme"

Image of Ai WeiWei x Dover Street Market x V MAGAZINE "Children of the Comme"

Image of Ai WeiWei x Dover Street Market x V MAGAZINE "Children of the Comme"

Image of Ai WeiWei x Dover Street Market x V MAGAZINE "Children of the Comme"

Image of Ai WeiWei x Dover Street Market x V MAGAZINE "Children of the Comme"

Image of Ai WeiWei x Dover Street Market x V MAGAZINE "Children of the Comme"

Image of Ai WeiWei x Dover Street Market x V MAGAZINE "Children of the Comme"

Image of Ai WeiWei x Dover Street Market x V MAGAZINE "Children of the Comme"

Image of Ai WeiWei x Dover Street Market x V MAGAZINE "Children of the Comme"

Image of Ai WeiWei x Dover Street Market x V MAGAZINE "Children of the Comme"

Image of Ai WeiWei x Dover Street Market x V MAGAZINE "Children of the Comme"