Prolific Chinese artist and political dissident Ai Weiwei has unveiled his latest exhibition in Berlin's Martin-Gropius-Bau museum. Evidence is a collection of over 6,000 wooden stools dating back to the Ming and Qing dynasties plucked from various rural Chinese villages. Tightly stacked side-by-side inside the museum's vast atrium, the immense presence of thousands of antique stools is quite poignant, and pure Weiwei.
According to German curator Gereon Sievernich, the collection of individual stools represents individuality in the face of today’s mass-manufactured plastic goods. As for the exhibition’s name, Evidence, the artist simply says that “he wants to prove the truth.”
The Evidence exhibition is expansive to say the least, covering some 3,000 square meters and 18 rooms throughout the museum. It is Weiwei‘s largest solo exhibition to date and includes new art created just for the Berlin museum as well as previous work never before seen in Germany. The most well-known being Forever Bicycles, the unforgettable collection of thousands of stacked, hanging bicycles.
Additionally, the exhibition features Souvenir from Shanghai, a brick and wood frame structure that was created after the Chinese government destroyed the artist’s Shanghai Studio. Also on display is a marble map of the Diaoyo Islands and a series of animal busts symbolizing the Chinese Zodiac. As is common for the artist, the significance of each piece can be traced back to his turbulent relationship with his home country of China.
Although the exhibition, which will be on display from April 3 to July 7, 2014 will undoubtedly bring thousands of visitors to the museum, the artist himself will not be able to attend. Accused by the Chinese government of being a delinquent political activist, Ai Weiwei is not allowed to leave China. He displays his personal experiences of the Communist government’s repression through the artwork created in his Beijing studio.
Via My Modern Met
Images Via Ai Weiwei and Photography by Reschke, Steffens & Kruse, Berlin/Köln