Ai Weiwei Fragments

The Castello di Rivoli Collection grows: Ai Weiwei

The work Fragments, 2005, by Ai Weiwei installed in room 18 on the second floor of the Museum is now on public display

 

As part of a project aimed to enrich the Castello di Rivoli Collection and following the recent acquisitions of works by Wael Shawky and Adrián Villar Rojas on behalf of the Fondazione per l’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea – CRT on loan to the Museum as well as the donation of a work by Ed Atkins, Fragments, 2005, by the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei will now be on loan in Rivoli. The work is part of the Uli Sigg Collection and has been donated to the M+ Museum, which will be inaugurated in 2019 in Hong Kong.

 For the Castello di Rivoli the loan of this important work by Ai Weiwei marks the start of a series of cultural collaborations and synergies with this new prestigious Chinese museum. The project also includes creating multiple initiatives, such as an exchange of works belonging to both collections. It also displays the Castello di Rivoli’s active role on the international art scene.

 Fragments, 2005, is installed in room 18 of the Savoy Residence, the spacious aristocratic hall located at the center of the Museum itinerary. With its tables, chairs, and stools, this work also displays pillars and wooden beams from temples dating to the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911), destroyed by the regime and originally from the Guangdong province. Resembling interlocking arms, the imposing wooden elements that define the work’s structure have been arranged by the artist to graphically correspond to the map of China. A complex system in delicate balance, Ai Weiwei’s monumental installation may be viewed as a powerful metaphor for everyday reality and the fragility hidden behind displays of strength.

 

Ai Weiwei (Beijing, 1957) is a Chinese artist, designer, and activist. Son of the dissident poet Ai Qing, Ai Weiwei graduated from Film Academy and later turned to painting. In 1981 he moved to New York where he attended Parsons / The New School For Design. In 1993 he returned to China and helped to establish the art community in Beijing. In 1997 he cofounded and acted as artistic director for the China Art Archives & Warehouse (CAAW). In 1999 he became interested in architecture and opened his own studio in the north suburb of Beijing in a neighborhood entirely designed by the artist with modern, sleek buildings in red brick.

He was an art consultant for the architects Herzog & de Meuron and their Beijing National Stadium for the Beijing Olympics in 2008 (the so-called “nest”) and, subsequently, their design for the temporary pavilion at the Serpentine Gallery in London. As an activist, Ai Weiwei stands out for his open criticism of the Chinese government regarding democracy and human rights issues. In 2007 he took part in documenta 12 in Kassel along with his 1,000 Chinese guests who visited the event. On that occasion he won the Arnold Bode Prize. In 2011 he was secluded for 81 days and confined to a secret location for his opposition to the regime. The news of his arrest was reported by the international press, and the Guggenheim Museum in New York began a campaign across the art world in his defense. Uli Sigg is among the first collectors of his works.

 

On October 28 the CAMERA – Centro Italiano per la Fotografia in Turin will inaugurate the exhibition Around Ai Weiwei. Photographs 1983–2016 on the photo and video production of the Chinese artist.