Performance Artist – Ai Weiwei

ai weiwei

Ai Weiwei

Chinese Artist- Performance Art, Visual Art, Body Art, Conceptual Art, Political Art

Born in Beijing, China, in 1957, Ai Weiwei is an activist, filmmaker, curator and one of the world’s most famous artists. Ai began his artistic career in New York City, where he lived from 1981 to 1993. When he returned to China in the mid-90s, a time of rapid modernization for his home country, he was shocked to discover that certain objects of cultural patrimony were not highly valued. Ai explains that when he came across these Han dynasty ceramic objects, they were just a dime a dozen: “I still have a photo of when I was in Xi’an. There was a farmer sleeping on top of these two urns waiting for someone to pay him a few hundred yuan. For him that was a few months’ salary, but even then nobody wanted them.” [1] Ai realized that during that period, most of his fellow countrymen were not nearly as interested in their country’s historic art objects as he was. For this reason, Ai began collecting antiquities, particularly ancient vessels and furniture, and eventually began converting these objects into contemporary artworks. Whether he reworks a discarded four-hundred-year-old wooden stool into a standing sculpture or creates an installation from hundreds of salvaged blue and white ceramic shards, Ai is interested in giving these historical found objects a second life as contemporary art.

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