Ai Weiwei's refugee life jackets in Vienna palace pond

People take photographs of the artwork F Lotus by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei at the Belvedere Palace in Vienna, Austria, on July 13.
People take photographs of the artwork F Lotus by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei at the Belvedere Palace in Vienna, Austria, on July 13. PHOTO: EPA

VIENNA (AFP) - Visitors to Vienna's Belvedere Palace were confronted Wednesday with 1,005 refugees' life jackets drifting in the baroque pond - courtesy of Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei.

The installation, titled F. Lotus, consists of 201 rings each holding five life jackets - retrieved from the Greek island of Lesbos - arranged in the letter "F" and floating like lotus flowers.

Ai, who in February this year attached 14,000 life jackets to the columns of a Berlin concert house, said that the work was his way of addressing the tragedy of Europe's migrant crisis.

"There are over 500,000 life jackets left on (Lesbos) and it looks like a landscape," he told reporters. "It is something so related to individuals. It could be the last thing you grab when you have to escape."

The artist went too far for some earlier this year when he recreated the death pose of Aylan Kurdi, the Syrian toddler found dead on a Turkish beach last year, in a photo shoot for an Indian magazine.