Ai Weiwei at Massimo De Carlo, Milan

Blouin Artfino
By: Blouin Artfino
Photo: Courtesy of Massimo De Carlo, Milan/London/Hong Kong
Photo Caption: The Animal That Looks Like a Llama but is Really an Alpaca, 2015 Wallpaper.

Original content from Blouin Artfino.

Massimo De Carlo, Milan is presenting a solo exhibition by iconic Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei.

Ai Weiwei is well-known for his radical work that challenges the government and is highly critical of his country’s politics. In this show, he will present a series of sculptures and installations that are historically relevant. As you enter you find a large-scale sculpture, “Garbage Container.” The sleek yet overwhelming object, crafted in huali wood, looks more like a wardrobe but offers a tragic interpretation of the life of underprivileged children in China. It is designed after a garbage container and pays homage to five homeless children from Guizhou Province who died of carbon monoxide poisoning in 2012, after lighting a fire in a bin to stay warm.

Right behind this sculpture is the elaborate white and gold wallpaper titled “The Animal That Looks Like a Llama But is Really an Alpaca” which points to the censorship and free speech by featuring recurring images of an alpaca icon, surveillance cameras, the Twitter bird logo. Weiwei also attempts to challenge Chinese history and heritage through his “Colored Vases” and the triptych “Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn.” The "Colored Vases" are more like an intentional childlike sabotage of history whereas this message is fiercely expressed in the latter.

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