artist / participant
With the Venice Biennale, Kassel Documenta and Skulptur Projekte Munster hosted around the same time, the year 2007 was once in a decade opportunity for art aficionados to get their fill of synesthetic sensations. Amidst so much activity and celebration going on with dozens of artists participating in these major events, one artist whose work was exhibited at the Kassel Documenta commanded special attention. It was Ai Weiwei. His large-scale sculpture titled ‘Template’ stood in the plaza in front of the Aue Pavilion, and exactly 1,001 chairs furnished in various spots of the exhibition area sparked the curiosity of the visitors. But this was not all. For the Fairytale Project Ai Weiwei invited 1,001 Chinese citizens to Kassel, the city of the Grimm brothers for a whole month, and gave them the rare chance to live as the characters in fairytales. Ai Weiwei had, in effect, dominated the Documenta Project as if it were his own solo exhibition, and the world responded with great enthusiasm.
Ai Weiwei has a crucial place in contemporary art. He is mainly an artist, but is also known for the planning of important exhibitions, and has been active in architectural design. He is very much interested in how the audience sees and experiences his works and the meanings each person finds thereof. Deeply influenced by Duchamp and Dadaism, Ai Weiwei has devoted himself to conceptual art and has worked on the deconstruction and transformation of ready-made objects. In so doing, he subverts the social and generalized meanings that have been attached to the objects to show the audience that they can have new forms and new meanings. By destroying and reconstructing, he connects the present with the past, or tears them apart, and even newly recreates them. In this way, Ai Weiwei has made for himself a uniquely innovative oeuvre that critiques the centralized ruling structure of China and the dramatic histories of its society and culture.
Gallery HYUNDAI’s exhibition of Ai Weiwei comprises a selection of his more prominent works dating from the 1990s to 2007, including ‘Fairytale’ that had been exhibited at the Kassel Documenta. This is his first solo exhibition in Korea, and is all the more special as a rare opportunity to experience his powerful and creative force that fills and dominates the exhibition space.
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