Ai Weiwei’s Interlacing: A Chinese Activist’s Photographs and Videos

Ai Weiwei, Dropping a Han-Dynasty Urn, 1995

Ai Weiwei, June 1994, 1994

Ai Weiwei, Ai Weiwei, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 1983

Ai Weiwei, Anton Wei, Lorimer Avenue Apartment, Brooklyn, 1983

Ai Weiwei, Study of Perspective, Tiananmen, 1998

Ai Weiwei’s Interlacing: A Chinese Activist’s Photographs and Videos

Interlacing is the first major exhibition of collected works by China’s renowned dissident artist Ai Weiwei, currently on display at Zurich’s Fotomuseum Winterthur. The collection consists of an extensive selection of photographs, videos and explanatory essays that present the interweaving artist as a network, company, activist, political voice, social container and agent provocateur.

Ai Weiwei is a generalist, conceptual, socially critical artist dedicated to creating friction with/and forming reality. As an architect, conceptual artist, sculptor, photographer, blogger, Twitterer, interview artist, and cultural critic, he is a sensitive observer of current topics and social problems: a great communicator and networker who brings life into art and art into life. Ai Weiwei deliberately confronts social conditions in China and in the world in ways that have captured an international audience.

In 2003, Ai Weiwei played a major role, together with the Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, in the construction of the Olympic stadium, the so-called “Bird’s Nest.” Subsequently, he publicly repudiated the project and the whole Olympic buildup as a preposterous fraud to put on a “good face” for the international community. In 2007, 1001 Chinese visitors traveled, at his instigation, to Documenta 12 (Fairytale) in Kassel, Germany. In 2010, the world marveled at his large, yet formally minimal carpet of millions of hand-painted porcelain sunflower seeds at the Tate Modern.

Chinese officials announced in May, 2011, that the authorities were investigating Ai Weiwei on suspicion of tax evasion, after police officers had taken him from the main Beijing airport on April 3rd as he prepared to board a flight to Hong Kong. A global outcry went out, blasting the Chinese government for what was deemed a politically motivated move, claiming that the tax inquiry was a pretext to silence one of the most vocal critics of the Chinese Communist Party. The Chinese legal authorities finally released Ai Weiwei on June 22nd, after a three-month detention, apparently ending a prosecution that had become a focal point of criticism of China’s eroding human rights record. Nevertheless, the terms of his release may silence him for months or even years.

Ai Weiwei: Interlacing

Ai Weiwei: New York Photographs (with English subtitles)

Ai WeiWei: Never Sorry

Photo-Gallery: Ai Weiwei’s Interlacing/A Chinese Activist’s Photographs and Videos

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Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera

Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera

Exposed is a photographic collection presently on exhibition at London’s Tate Modern Gallery, which offers a fascinating look at pictures made on the sly, without the explicit permission of the people depicted.  With photographs from the late nineteenth century to present day, the pictures present a shocking, illuminating and sometimes witty perspective on iconic and taboo subjects.  Exposed presents 250 works by celebrated artists and photographers, including Weegee, Guy Bourdin, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Philip Lorca DiCorcia, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Nan Goldin, Harry Callahan, Lee Miller, Helmut Newton and Man Ray.

The United Kingdom is now the most surveyed country in the world, fostering an obsession with voyeurism, privacy laws, freedom of media, and surveillance, images captured and relayed on camera phones, YouTube or reality TV.  Much of Exposed focuses on surveillance, and the issues raised are particularly relevant in the current climate, with debates raging around the rights and desires of individuals, terrorism and the increasing availability and use of surveillance.  Exposed confronts these issues and their implications head-on.

Exposed at Tate Modern: Sandra Phillips on Celebrity Photography

Exposed: Richard Gordon on Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera

Slide Show: Exposed/Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera

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I’ve Been Single Too Long: Yearnings of an Overheated Imagination

I’ve Been Single Too Long: Yearnings of an Overheated Imagination

I’ve Been Single Too Long is a shadowy, dream-like 3-minute short film directed by Shane Davey, which was commissioned for a special showcase at the Tate Modern Museum in Britain.  Whether a declaration of yearning or an admission of an overheated imagination, the title of Davey’s single-shot film offers an insight into the scene that’s being played out before us.  Arising from his bed in the early morning, a listless young man wanders through the rooms of his house and into a hammock in his back garden. All the while, the young fellow is seemingly oblivious to the many young women, wearing only their underwear, who are seductively lounging about all around him.

I’ve Been Single Too Long: Yearnings of an Overheated Imagination

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And Just Who Did What to Whom? Surprise!!

And Just Who Did What to Whom? Surprise!!

Surprise is a 1 1/2-minute stylish short thriller directed by Ben Dodd, which was commissioned for a special showcase at the Tate Modern Museum in London. The film tell a very tragic story as it unfolds from the end to the beginning.  It’s a “Hitchcockian” dark film-noir, where a  vengeful romantic murder is not at all what it seems. The dramatically circuitous and shadowy film leaves you wondering about just who did what to whom…Surprise!!

And Just Who Did What to Whom? Surprise!!

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