Famous Ai Weiwei works part of exhibition at German gallery

Ai Weiwei's exhibition in Dusseldorf is said to be his largest to date in Europe. The exhibits include Circle Of Animals, made of gilded bronze.
Ai Weiwei's exhibition in Dusseldorf is said to be his largest to date in Europe. The exhibits include Circle Of Animals, made of gilded bronze.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

DUSSELDORF • An art gallery in Germany opened an exhibition of works by Chinese artist and human rights activist Ai Weiwei yesterday.

The exhibition, dubbed simply Ai Weiwei, is thought to be his largest to date in Europe. It is being staged in Dusseldorf, the capital of North-Rhine Westphalia state, and will run until Sept 1.

"He is an activist as artist and an artist as activist," Ms Susanne Gaensheimer, co-curator of the show, said of Ai last Thursday.

The exhibition includes some of Ai's most intricate and massive installations - so much so that it had to be spread over two buildings and the integral structure of the museum monitored.

Two of Ai's most famous works, weighing over 100 tonnes, have been installed in halls in the main building of the museum.

Ai was jailed in China for 81 days in 2011, and has since fled the country and set up shop in Berlin.

He represents his own imprisonment in a piece that allows people to literally peek at images of his life in jail through holes in an iron box.

 

The artist has been outspoken on a range of political topics, including immigration.

One piece of art, Laundromat, includes 40 racks of clothing left behind when the Greek refugee camp of Idomeni was cleared by the authorities some years ago.

Another displays a rubber dinghy in which passengers appear as ghostly figures, and the boat as a death ship.

"I myself am a migrant," Ai said last Thursday.

DPA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 19, 2019, with the headline 'Famous Ai Weiwei works part of exhibition at German gallery'. Print Edition | Subscribe